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General Luis Valverde new head of ANH, tasked with restoring bolivian fuel supply

La presidenta interina de Bolivia, Jeanine Áñez , nombró al General de División, Luis Fernando Valverde
Ferrufino como nuevo director general de la Agencia Nacional de Hidrocarburos (ANH).

By Patricia Garip / Argus

Petroleumworld 11 19 2019

Bolivia's self-declared interim president Jeanine Anez named a military general as acting head of the National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH), with a mandate to replenish fuel supply around La Paz.

National oil and gas company YPFB announced on 14 November that it could not distribute gasoline, diesel and LPG in around La Paz because of a blockade of the Senkata fuel plant southwest of La Paz. New hydrocarbons minister Victor Hugo Zamora announced this morning an emergency plan to restore fuel supply with imports from Chile and Peru, and vowed that fuel prices would not increase.

The blockade is led by supporters of longtime president Evo Morales, who resigned on 10 November and fled to Mexico after he declared victory in 20 October elections that the Organization of American States (OAS) deemed to be fraudulent.

Bolivia's natural gas exports to Argentina and Brazil have not been affected so far, although YPFB warned its counterparts in the two countries on 11 November of possible disruptions owing to the takeover of key installations.

Morales supporters inside and outside Bolivia affirm that he was the victim of coup, and reject Anez's interim presidency, in part because she was sworn in on 12 November without the required legislative quorum. Lawmakers from Morales' Movement toward Socialism party (MAS) had boycotted the process. But Anez, a conservative senator from the Democratic Unity party, is recognized by the US, the UK and grudgingly by Russia, which still describes the events of last week as a coup. The EU has steered clear of outright recognition.

The new acting ANH president is division general Luis Valverde Ferrufino, who replaced Gary Medrano. Anez has yet to name a new president of YPFB.

Talks are currently underway between MAS and Anez allies to hammer out a plan for elections, which are supposed to take place in January but must be preceded by the appointment of new electoral authorities.

Although Anez had declared on 12 November that her main role was to shepherd Bolivia to new elections "as soon as possible," she has gone beyond a caretaker role by breaking ties with Venezuela and ordering the expulsion of more than 700 Cubans from Bolivia. Caracas and Havana were key political allies of the government of Morales, who first took office in 2006 on a resource nationalism platform.

Among Anez's first moves was recognizing Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido's interim presidency. At an opposition march in Caracas on 16 November, Guaido led his supporters to the street outside the Bolivian embassy, which he declared was the "friend of democracy and freedom."

Story by Patricia Garip from Argus Media. / 11 18 2019


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