Some Oil Producing Nations of Latin America Alienated from the USA

We did it again. We had posted our article on "We need to make friends again" of Latin American oil producers. We warned that if the USA did not change it's foreign policy approach, oil production in these nations could be nationalized.

Only a week later 2 Latin American nations took steps to take over foreign oil interests. The reasons were the same as we defined. The USA , and other nations, have done a poor job of understanding and respecting Latin America's cultural, social, environmental and economic mix.

As a result, we are losing influence, friends, and moreover, sources of oil. Ecuador has moved in with armed soldiers and taken over Occidental Petroleum sites, because of several problems, many of them caused by Occidental. The USA needs that oil. 15% of the oil consumed in California, comes from Ecuador.

Consider a few of the problems, Occidental may have caused.

  1. Occidental has polluted and spilled oil on many areas of Ecuador. The people are not stupid and do not want to see their children poisoned by Benzine in their water tables.
  2. Occidental has done a poor job of befriending, and supporting the local villages and communities where it is active.
  3. Occidental was voted one of the worst corporate examples in Latin America by an independent study group.
  4. Occidental has actually violated some of it's legal agreements with Ecuador, for the privilege of producing and refining oil in that nation.

All of this is made worse by the poor job the Bush Administration has done of diplomacy in Latin America, and it has hurt the USA politically. This administration has treated Latin America like poor ignorent step children, and the educated leaders of those nations deserve much more respect than the USA has given in the past 4 years.

But, there is some hope for redemption. There are many people in Latin America, who want to have new and positive business alliances with nations such as the USA. Some American businessmen are prospering by doing big business with Latin America, because they deal in respect, honesty, and try to be "friends" not "kings". There is hope that future political administrations will try harder, and give local embassies in Latin America, more conciliatory instructions, and positive leadership.

Latin America is destined to be a powerful economic force, emerging with huge markets, cheap labor, and natural resources. The peoples of this part of the world must be considered our brothers and sisters.