Disagreements between Bolivia and the Brazilian oil company Petrobras have led to the resignation of the Bolivian Energy Minister. Andres Soliz handed in his notice a day after a plan to nationalise Petrobras’ refineries in Bolivia was suspended. Brazilian protests forced the freezing of the project, which had been signed by Soliz earlier this week.
Bolivian President Evo Morales was elected on a pledge to make the people benefit from the country’s wealth of natural resources. Bolivia is South America’s poorest country despite being rich in oil and natural gas. Soliz had, according to one source, wanted to end what he saw as Brazilian imperialism, and to hit Petrobras hard. The company could pull out of Bolivia if the project went ahead. President Morales insists that relations with Brazil are ‘excellent’ and that a deal can still be negotiated, saying the country was looking for ‘partners, not bosses, not owners.’