The hope for the left was to secure sovereignty - meaning we don't have to listen to the IMF or the World Bank, that we'll have our own resources and make our own decisions - and to an extent, Evo was able to do that for a while. But when the prices start declining, when the reserves start declining and you've created a lot of expectations, then it's not the state that's deciding anymore, it's the oil companies. And that's when sovereignty starts eroding.
Anthropologist Bret Gustafson explores the political realities of natural gas in Evo Morales's Bolivia - while the leftist government achieved popular redistributive programs through a compromise with capital, the demands of agribusiness and the destruction of extraction proved to be an unsustainable source for social wealth and prosperity for the Bolivian people.
Bret is author of Bolivia in the Age of Gas from Duke University Press.