The President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, said this Thursday, May 11, in Vienna, Austria, that Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras acted illegally in his country, without respecting local laws.
"If you want to talk about the contracts, I will show that they are illegal and unconstitutional. And if you want to know about Petrobras, I can also tell you how they also acted illegally without respecting Bolivian norms," he declared.
Morales made these statements in a press conference with reporters from all over the world who are in Vienna to cover the 4th Latin American-Caribbean-European Union Summit.
According to the Bolivian President, the contracts with foreign companies were not ratified by the Bolivian Congress, contrary to what the country’s constitution dictates.
"These contracts, over 70 of them, with the petroleum companies were not ratified, none of them, so they are unconstitutional," Morales affirmed. In his view, the agreements were signed "behind closed doors" and "secretly," without transparency.
In the interview, he also named Petrobras as one of the companies suspected of having committed tax evasion and black market operations.
"There are, for example, many accusations against petroleum companies that don’t pay taxes and petroleum companies that are contrabandists," he declared.
Without going into details, the Bolivian president also said that there is no reason to pay compensation to companies that have already recovered their investment and made a profit.
"If we were expropriating their assets or their technology, of course we would have to indemnify them. But in our case we are not expropriating their technology nor their investments in the country."
According to Morales, other foreign companies that comply with Bolivian laws will have backing to operate in the country.
"But there are some firms claiming to be Brazilian that established themselves illegally in our national territory. EBX, for example," he underscored, in reference to a mining company that had a project near the Brazilian border in the region between Puerto Suarez, Bolivia, and Corumbá, in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, and was recently expelled from the country.