Bolivia Strikes a Nerve in Rich’s Wealth!

Bolivians Protest Against GlencoreBolivia Strikes a Nerve in Rich’s Wealth!

By Hwaa Irfan

Bigger than you and I, Glencore… Glencove, no Glencore – What about it—them! Where is it! That’s just about it!

Or what about Marck Rich…rich, I wish I was rich— no Marc Rich, the guy President Clinton that was, pardoned after being on the FBI’s Top10 for tax evasion. Yeah, well he’s not a relative,  and I’m too honest to be in with the likes of them, and who’d wanna be! These guys may have climbed high, but they are in for a very, very nasty fall!

I don’t know if Marc Rich is one of them, but he’s beginning to stumble a little. Just got into the habit of doing it his way for too long, you know like getting 10-year old children to climb down hand dug shafts without protection or gear to get copper, and cobalt, …

Where was that?

A place called Tilwezembe mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

And so at least he payed them didn’t he!

Pay them what is the question. Rich carted out truck load of minerals that made U.S$186 billion in revenue in 2011 for Glencore.

Why would he want to do that for Glencore!

Glencore is his company. He’s American, he the company is Swiss, and it’s listed on the London Stock Exchange.

‘Traditions’ die hard! Glencore does not feature in people’s minds because it is not a brand name. When pulic revolts around the world were due to the rising price of bread, Glencore was making a killing on the stock market.

What Glencore is one of the world’s largest commodities giant corporations that avoids taxation. As Glencore hopes to merge with Xstrata, another mining company based in Switzerland, to create a behemoth with US$90 billion in assets it has come across a stumbling block on its journey to putting the world’s minerals under its control through exploitation like so many others.

That stumbling block is not one of the G20 countries… why would it be, its a member of the global financial elite club, but that country again Bolivia, the one that the U.S. is busy trying to pull the plug on like so many before.

The stumbling block came in the form of a mine, like the Haitian mines that reaped gold for Rothschild’s courtesy of Canada’s Majescor Resources Inc. Once deemed one of the poorest countries, Bolivia has been taking itself through a process of nationalisation to ensure that the people  benefit from the countries natural resources under its democraticallly elected indigenous leader, Evo Morales. June 22 2012, the stumbling block, the Colquiri mines was the third Glencore operation to be nationalized by Bolivia in the last five years.

If anyone is familiar with the roots of the never ending U.S. animosity towards Cuba, one will know its about nationalization of U.S. companies that were making big profits for top men, including the Bush dynasty, while the locals starves, which lost them millions.

Bolivia has touched a raw nerve, because even though Glencore is a Swiss-base company, the owner, Marc Rich is American. All of this was going on before U.S. covert operations in Paraguay to pull down Bolivia.

Mining for Glencore means 15% of its gross product. Bolivia is the fourth largest miner of tin globally, and is the seventh largest producer of lead. So Glencore was reeling at the thought of Colquiri being rightfully nationalized, especially when  Glencore decided to go public in May 2011, sellign shares on the London and Hong Stock Exchanges. Deemed as the world’s biggest commodities brokerage firm which was valuated at the time at U.S$60 bn — higher than Boeing or Ford Motor Co. According to the Financial Times.

Taken aback by the nationalized Colquiri, Glencore has demanded U.S.$22mn in compensation from the Bolivian government, the amount Glencore claims it has invested.

“Glencore International plc (“Glencore”) today received a signed Supreme Decree from the Government of Bolivia, nationalising the Colquiri mine in the Bolivian province of La Paz, with immediate effect.

Glencore’s immediate focus is to seek an orderly handover of control of Colquiri with the Bolivian authorities and to ensure the well-being of its staff. Colquiri has been developed and operated, pursuant to rights granted by the Government of Bolivia, by Sinchi Wayra, a company owned by Glencore since2005.

Glencore strongly protests the action taken by the Government of Bolivia and reserves its rights to seek fair compensation pursuant to all available domestic and international remedies.

The Colquiri mine has paid royalties, taxes and fees to the Bolivian State of over $70 million. Payments from all our operations to the Government and Comibol have been in excess of $300 million”.

Protest Against Glencores Outside Swiss HQA company that ‘guards’ its privacy, were very careful about going public by going through Schillings, that “manage what is published and broadcast about them[clients]”- the Guardian.

 “are extremely private individuals”, who expected scrutiny of their business activities, but not their personal lives. A warning followed about the “security risk” that could be posed by any reports about their homes or private lives.

But when that wealth controls the lives of others, that right is no longer valid. His Rich was pardoned by former President Bill Clinton because of his ‘position’ amongst the global financial elite,  despite the fact that Rich was America’s most-wanted white-collar criminal, and was on the FBI’s list of top-10 fugitives alongside that of Osama bin Laden; and it is for this reason why Rich fled to Switzerland. According to the Guardian, Belgian-born Rich was wanted for racketeering, evading millions of dollars in taxes (U.S$48mn) and trading with the enemy: the Ayatollahs’ Iran. It is worth noting that Rich’s lawyer from 1985 – 2000 was Scooter Libby – Vice-President Dick Cheney’s former Chief of Staff!

If Rich’s empire does not include exploitation and abuse of the environments concerned, the impoverishment of the peoples in the countries concerned how private can one remain when Glencore

  • Controls over half the international tradable market in zinc and copper
  • A third of the world’s seaborne coal
  • One of the world’s largest grain exporters  (9%)
  • Handles 3% of daily global oil consumption for customers

With the aim to rule an “empire stretching from the Sahara to South Africa,” as the Africa Confidential .

Coporate Watch notes:

The Bolivian government has a different view. “This is our mining policy: the State, cooperatives, and national investment”, stated the country’s vice president Alvaro Garcia-Linera. “We’re not going to hand our country to foreigners who destroyed Bolivia and left it stagnating for 20 years.”

It is natural for any country to seek control over its own resources, and it is the right of the people to benefit from such resources, instead of maintaining a substandard life while their country is being bled. Other recent take overs includes

  • A subsidiary of France’s GDF Suez (GDFZY.PK) (GSZ.PA)
  • Britain ‘s Rurelec PLC (RUR.L)

Michael Ross, author of The Oil Curse and a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“And in a number of countries where Glencore operates, doing business means putting money into the pockets of repressive governments and corrupt rulers. In some of those places … it’s hard to draw a line between what’s legally corrupt and what’s not.”

Rich’s involvement in the metals market cost Bolivia millions in the 1980’s, and with the illegal sale of 400 metric tons of tin to a company in Thailand cost Bolivia U.S$4mn.

Morales has handed over the mine to Comibol, a state mining company as Moody’s rates Bolivia Ba3, three levels below investment grade.

The Bolivian government will decide how much it plans to pay Glencore by October 2012, but in real terms, Bolivia has already paid for the exploits of a wealthy thief!


Emery, A., and Craze, M. “Bolivia Government Revokes Glencore’s Lease for Tin Mine.”

“Glencore Response to the Nationalisation of the Colquiri Mine in Bolivia.”

Pidd, H, Glaister, D, and Smith, D. “The rise of Glencore, The Biggest Company You’ve Never Heard Of.”

Ruiz-Marrero, C. “Glencore”

Silverstein, K. ““A Giant Amongt Giants.”

Related Topics:

Bolivia, Paraguay and… Retrieving Our Backyard!

Bolivia: Life Exists Beyond the Washington Concensus

One thought on “Bolivia Strikes a Nerve in Rich’s Wealth!

  1. An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I do think that you ought to publish more on this topic, it might not be a taboo matter, but typically people don’t speak about such issues. To the next! Cheers!!

Comments are closed.