In the wake of president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s announcement on Monday to expropriate oil giant YPF from Spain-controlled Repsol, officials from Latin American neighbouring countries have been divided over the landmark decision.
Several heads of state lauded Argentina for following in the lead of predecessors such as Russia, Venezuela and Ecuador, in its return to national sovereignty.
In a statement from Venezuela’s foreign ministry, reported by Página 12, president Hugo Chávez announced that he “welcomes and supports the decision announced by the government of Cristina Fernandez to nationalise Argentina’s main oil company,” and that “Venezuela highlights the validity of the doctrine of sovereign management of natural resources.”
Heads of state in Brazil and Uruguay offered similar sentiments.
Mexico, has landed on a decidedly harder line, empathising with Spain’s fury over the matter.
“Nobody in their right mind invests in countries that expropriate companies,” said president Felipe Calderón on Monday at the World Economic Forum. “I consider it very regrettable that the Argentine government, our friend Cristina Fernandez, has taken a decision that is in nobody’s interest.”
Bolivia, however, attempted to stay out of the conflict between Argentina and Spain. Depsite Bolivia’s own renationalisation in 2006, president Evo Morales appeared to be concerned about economic ties with the Spanish company.
“The YPF-Repsol issue is between Argentina and Spain, of Repsol as a company and Argentina,” he said during a press conference, reported by Merco Press. “It won’t cause any problem for us because we have a relation of great trust with Repsol.”
The announcement has divided officials in Argentina as per party line. Political movements such as Proyecto Sur, which have been campaigning for the move for years, are predictably scheduled to vote in favor of the power shift.
As reported by Página 12, despite kickback from opposing parties, kirchnerismo officials feel confident the vote will be passed. The ruling party said they have 33 “safe” votes in the Senate, out of the required 37-vote majority, despite resistance from UCR and Coalición Cívica.
Congress has already set the parliamentary debate in motion, and expect to have the measure approved by 3 May.