Bolivian President defends recent nationalizations, by José Ángel Rueda

Today we would just like to share with our readers some news coming from the current European tour of President Evo Morales of Bolivia. In this regard it is reported that, both in Vienna, Austria on 11 March 2013[1] and in Paris, France on 12 March 2013,[2] Mr. Morales has defended the string of nationalizations decreed by the Bolivian Government in recent months. 

As previously reported on this blog, in December 2012 Bolivia nationalized four electricity companies that ultimately belonged to Spanish utility giant Iberdrola.[3] In addition, in February 2013 Bolivia nationalized all shares in a local company in charge of running three international airports that also belonged to two Spanish companies.[4]

We cannot forget that President Morales’ remarks may be seen as having a twofold dimension: first, they might serve as a defense in the event of a claim for restitution within the context of an investment dispute against a foreign investor; and, second, they might contribute to the consolidation of a well-established customary rule of international law whereby States are entitled to conduct expropriations and nationalizations provided that some requirements are met, in particular the payment of adequate compensation.

[1] “Morales defiende las nacionalizaciones frente al “saqueo” del neoliberalismo”, 11 March 2013, available at

[2] “Morales defiende en París las nacionalizaciones”, 12 March 2013, available at (in Spanish).