with great risks. Now that we have stabilized the country, we
have created an environment that is predictable, stable, and
plannable in terms of investment and profits for foreign
Currently, Bolivia has a nine-year plan to become the
heart of energy for Latin America. This plan requires an
investment of $32 billion according to Yacimientos Petrolíferos
Fiscales Bolivianos ( YPFB). This rather large sum is equivalent
to the annual gross domestic product of the country. How
does the government plan to finance this project?
GARCÍA LINERA: The government will directly fund more than
50% of the project and will have a lower percentage of foreign
investment. This is a nine-year plan, in which each year the
government will invest approximately $2.5 billion of GDP, leaving
about $10 billion to finance.
The remaining part will be financed with the profits from
gas activities, plus the country’s international reserves that
represent 50% of GDP, being the highest in Latin America. In
addition, we have $12 billion dollars in resources of the Pension
Fund Administrators (AFP) and $22 billion in private savings
in banks. When these resources are added, it creates a strong
financial backing that allows the government to finance the
plan directly or through credit.
Where will Bolivia acquire the technology for this
GARCÍA LINERA: The technology will be acquired abroad, in
part by the government of Bolivia, but also leaving room for
foreign investment. We are committed to acquiring the best
In the case of the urea and ammonia plant, we hired the
Korean company Hyundai. For the polypropylene plant, we are
evaluating several suppliers from the United States, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Japan among others. In the upcoming months,
we will decide which company to choose, taking into account
the technology and price. We know that at this time we are not
able to generate this technology internally, so will absorb that
of the world leaders until we can produce it in Bolivia.
Bolivia is a country with only 10 million inhabitants.
However, it has a huge infrastructure downstream, a field
that so far is under-industrialized. What are the objectives
for these infrastructures?
GARCÍA LINERA: Clearly, the Bolivian market is very small,
and the large industrial investments that we have done do not
go accordingly with the domestic market. The small and medium
investments are directly aimed for domestic consumption.
However, the giant investments in gas, oil, electricity, mineral
smelting, lithium, and atomic energy are oriented for the international market.
In the case of lithium, Bolivia has 40% of world reserves of
this element that is essential for car batteries. In the same way,
we want to participate in the creation of energy by nuclear
fusion, which occupies deuterium from water, and tritium from
lithium. The goal is to achieve an inexpensive technique of
fusion of the two atoms to generate electricity. This project is
very promising for Bolivia, since no other country in the world
has such a large reserve of lithium.
This is a very promising project for Bolivia because we are
the country with the highest lithium reserves in the world. This
is a plan of at least 20 years, but we must prepare now to not
only sell the raw material, but also to incorporate added value.
Our goal is to partner with countries that are currently working
on developing these technologies to work together in the
In order to develop all of these projects, it is vital for
Bolivia to have partners. How does the government of Bolivia
build these partnerships in such a fluctuating continent such
as South America, where governments often change from
one political pole to the other?
GARCÍA LINERA: Bolivia has shown itself to be serious towards
its commitments, regardless of the type of government that has
signed the commitment. In the case of Brazil, when Bolivia
signed the gas contract, the Brazilian government was extreme
right, and when government changed, we kept the contract
unalterably. The same case has been with the gas contract to
Argentina and the recent change of government.
In the foreign market, Bolivia has been very serious in fulfilling
its commitments, regardless of both internal and external
political fluctuations. Bolivia was on the verge of a civil war that
almost led to a divided country, but the contracts were never
The nationalization that took place in Bolivia was very modern. It was achieved through negotiations with all the companies
that were present in the country. We got them to stay in the
country and even received more companies.
Regardless of the variations and political cycles, contracts
must be respected. Today, we represent the economy with higher
economic growth on the continent, after Panama. This growth,
according to the World Bank, would exceed by 2% the growth
of Panama if we had access to the sea.
Today we offer foreign investors a stable political situation
and clear laws, thus facilitating the vision of the results of such
investments. We are a country very interested in the nationalization of our resources, but we also understand the importance
Bolivia has very favorable political stability. However,
its neighbors do not. How important it is for Bolivia to send
its gas frozen or by other means to more distant and industrialized countries?