Category: Natural Resources

The Water Is Ours Damn It!

In July 2010, we asked the President of the Federation of Neighborhood Organizations (FEJUVE) in El Alto, Bolivia, how his organization planned to address seasonal water scarcity there. Our concern was aroused when, in 2007, local and international papers began to warn about the possible effects of rapidly retreating glaciers, changing weather patterns, and continued rural-to-urban migration on the reservoirs supplying …

Reciprocal Agreements for Water

September 21, 1967. A hot wind sweeps tumbleweed through the village of Alto Seco. Women peer from behind drawn shutters, to catch a glimpse of the visitors who arrived earlier in the day. They had walked slowly into the village, carrying immense backpacks. The men made camp in an abandoned house next to a waterhole, and during the evening talked to a group of 15 amazed and silent peasants …

Bolivia’s Lithium Potential

The southwest highlands of Bolivia have offered residents one primary livelihood: salt mining. In recent years, however, a lesser known yet highly abundant element there has become the core of national economic, political and even cultural debates: lithium. Bolivia’s leadership is well aware of the growing importance and desirability of this light silver-white metal. …

Bolivian Resource Politics

Across the hill country between the Andes and the Chaco of southeastern Bolivia, the past two decades have seen the rapid expansion of natural gas exploration, pipelines, and well sites. Here in the ancestral territory of the indigenous Guarani, gas giants like Brazil’s Petrobras, France’s Total, and Spain’s Repsol are leading Bolivia’s natural gas boom. …

The Economy of the Extractive Industries

English + EspañolIt’s worth a Potosí—an idiom that uses the name of Bolivia’s famous colonial silver mining town as a way of saying “it’s worth a fortune”—is closely identified with the country’s past and its economic history. We Bolivians have always depended on some natural resource or other. The first was silver from the highlands of Potosí, then tin and now natural gas. …

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