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Bolivia Nationalizes Power Grid

Common Dreams staff

Bolivian president Evo Morales (second from the right) and members of his government celebrate May Day. Photograph: EPA

Bolivian President Evo Morales announced on Tuesday during a commemoration of May Day that the country would be nationalizing its power grid by taking power away from Spanish company Transportadora de Electricidad (TDE).

At the presidential palace in La Paz, Morales said, “Today, again, in merited homage of the workers and people of Bolivia who have fought to recover natural resources and basic services, we are nationalizing Transportadora de Electricidad.”

Morales sent troops to occupy the company's installations in the country.

"Just to make it clear to national and international public opinion, we are nationalizing a company that previously was ours," Morales added.

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Al Jazeera video: Bolivia nationalises electrical grid

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El País: Bolivia’s Morales nationalizes REE’s stake in local power utility

In a surprise move, Bolivian President Evo Morales on Tuesday announced the expropriation of the local affiliate of Spain’s Red Eléctrica de España, Transportadora de Electricidad SA.

Signing a decree to coincide with International Worker’s Day, Morales ordered the army to take over the company’s installations throughout the landlocked Andean country. [...]

According to Morales’ decree number 1214, all of REE’s shares in Transportadora de Electricidad will will be turned over to the Bolivian government, which will control them through the National Electric Company ENDE.REE controls 77 percent of Transportadora. The facilities and land owned by REE will also automatically be forfeited over to the government, Morales said.

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The Guardian: Bolivia nationalises Spanish-owned power grid

Morales did not say how much the company would be compensated, but the nationalisation decree says the state would negotiate a compensation fee.

Morales said only $81m (£49.9m) had been invested in Bolivia's power grid since it was privatised in 1997.

The government, meanwhile, "invested $220m in generation and others profited. For that reason, brothers and sisters, we have decided to nationalise electricity transmission," he said.

Argentina president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner also blamed a lack of investment by Repsol for her decision to nationalise the oil companies assets.

Bolivian soldiers peacefully took over the company's offices in the central city of Cochabamba, hanging Bolivia's flag across its entry.

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