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Latin American Geopolitics vs. Energy Patterns: Ideology, Energy Production Sustainability, and U.S. Security by Alberto Cisneros-Lavaller

Latin American Geopolitics vs. Energy Patterns: Ideology, Energy Production Sustainability, and U.S. Security by Alberto Cisneros-Lavaller

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This paper evaluates the trend in Latin America towards resource nationalism in the energy sector as more left-leaning governments have come to power. It analyzes how compatible or incompatible the new ideological discourse from some populist/leftist regimes vis-à-vis their domestic energy production sustainability is for the medium and long term and their energy trade with key international partners and consumers. Venezuela and Bolivia are examined as case studies where ideological changes in governments have affected energy policies. The impact of Latin American geopolitics on U.S. energy imports is also examined, along with the evaluation of the potential U.S. vulnerability to oil supply disruptions from Latin America. The paper concludes that the trend toward resource nationalism raises political risk, thereby making future foreign investments in these countries less attractive, which could ultimately be detrimental to overall energy production levels. Over the short term, it is unlikely that there will be major changes in oil flows from Latin America to the United States; however, the United States needs to evaluate mid- to long-range energy security strategies to diversify its oil sources and expand risk management tools such as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. (This article by Dr. Alberto Cisneros-Lavaller, “Latin American Geopolitics vs. Energy Patterns: Ideology, Energy Production Sustainability, and U.S. Security,” was published in The Journal of Energy and Development, autumn 2006, vol. 32, no. 1).
This paper evaluates the trend in Latin America towards resource nationalism in the energy sector as more left-leaning governments have come to power. It analyzes how compatible or incompatible the new ideological discourse from some populist/leftist regimes vis-à-vis their domestic energy production sustainability is for the medium and long term and their energy trade with key international partners and consumers. Venezuela and Bolivia are examined as case studies where ideological changes in governments have affected energy policies. The impact of Latin American geopolitics on U.S. energy imports is also examined, along with the evaluation of the potential U.S. vulnerability to oil supply disruptions from Latin America. The paper concludes that the trend toward resource nationalism raises political risk, thereby making future foreign investments in these countries less attractive, which could ultimately be detrimental to overall energy production levels. Over the short term, it is unlikely that there will be major changes in oil flows from Latin America to the United States; however, the United States needs to evaluate mid- to long-range energy security strategies to diversify its oil sources and expand risk management tools such as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. (This article by Dr. Alberto Cisneros-Lavaller, “Latin American Geopolitics vs. Energy Patterns: Ideology, Energy Production Sustainability, and U.S. Security,” was published in The Journal of Energy and Development, autumn 2006, vol. 32, no. 1).

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08/16/2011

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