Thursday, February 05, 2009

Bolivia Imperiled by Riches?

Bolivia is a beautiful country with tremendous poverty, coupled with astounding, recurring wealth. It's sad, but that wealth has brought more misery than relief to the Bolivian people throughout history. Years ago, it was silver in her mountains that drew the Spanish to enslave the people and rob the country. More recently, it was water resources and a corrupt rightwing government that drew the multi-national corporations to kill the people and rob the country.

Now, it's lithium.

Lithium is a key component in the types of batteries used in electric cars, and Bolivia may be the "Saudi Arabia of lithium." In its vast salt deserts, Bolivia holds more lithium than any other country, and powerful nations want it. Notice the lede in the New York Times article - "a country that may not be willing to surrender it so easily."

"Surrender it"?! Are they holding their own minerals hostage or something? Has Bolivia become an enemy because it has minerals we want? The subtle game of propaganda has begun.

Right now, Bolivia is blessed with a progressive leader who views himself as beholden to the people rather than the wealthy. He's no saint, and he makes mistakes, but he is a far better person and leader than W was. Is he strong enough and wise enough to survive the attempts by the truly powerful to destabilize him? Is he sophisticated enough to hold his country together while rapacious forces from within and without want to tear it apart and pluck its mineral heart out?

I fear that electric car I want may be fueled by the blood and misery of Bolivian peasants.

Consumers like me may be the modern-day equivalents of 16th Century Spanish royalty, waiting for our conquistador corporations to bring us the silver we crave.

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5 Comments:

Blogger les said...

but he is a far better person and leader than W was

Setting the bar a tad low, aren't you? Damning with faint praise? Lemme see, more cliches at hand?

2/05/2009 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Ratso Rizzo said...

I wonder how I can get a corner on this Bolivia lithium shit? I need to be a part of this. I wonder if Bolivia has business before the Jackson County Legislature? If so they need to pony up!

2/05/2009 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

may be fueled by the blood and misery of Bolivian peasants.

I wonder how many miles it will get to the peasant?

2/05/2009 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Sophia said...

Sorry to be off topic, but holy hell... McCaskill is going to give me a coronary if she joins in on this stimulus stripping effort. I thought nothing could piss me off more than the FISA vote. But something about her sending out a fundraising pitch on her executive pay posturing while letting her Blue Dog colors fly is pushing me over the limit.

I don't care if she has a private plane, I just want her to act like a damn democrat and not old school dixie style.

2/05/2009 11:12 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous - Well done. Nothing like a well-placed bit of sarcasm to deflate a dramatic argument. I had to chuckle at your post.

Sophia - once again, Claire looked at her "WWJTD" bracelet, and feels the Republican faith.

2/06/2009 6:18 AM  

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