Since Evo Morales became President of Bolivia in 2006 there has been a struggle between his two halves. There was the soulful and iconic Indian with his love of Pachamama (Mother Earth) and the desire to forge a Third Way between Left and Right. And then there was the admirer of Che Guevara who waged war against big business, Yanquis and the Catholic Church. With the August 2 confirmation of his government’s expropriation of South American Silver’s TSX:SAC Malku Khota project, the struggle is over, and Morales has joined Juan Perón and Hugo Chavez in the ranks of Latin American strongmen.
National Bank Financial analyst Paolo Lostritto (an early supporter of and investor in SAC) is unequivocal about the consequences of the nationalization for Bolivia. “There isn’t certainty of title,” he declares, “and it doesn’t matter how you risk-adjust it, the equation is worth zero. No matter how big the size of the prize, it doesn’t matter. When you multiply anything by zero, you get zero. Therefore, you get a lack of willingness of people to invest capital in that country. Bolivia has shown it’s not open for business.”