At 4,085 square miles, Salar de Uyuni in Southwest Bolivia is the world's largest salt flat. Those salts contain large amounts of sodium, potassium, magnesium and lithium, and these days, it's the last element on that list that is attracting attention. According to the USGS, Bolivia has 35% of the world's lithium resources, and since in the coming years, electric cars and plug-in hybrids that use lithium-ion batteries are expected to greatly increase in numbers, this could mean big changes for Bolivia, South-America's poorest country. The photo below was made there.
For some time I have wondered why the US Govt has conceived such an animus against Ivo Morales, the indigenous (non-Hispano) former coca-grower who was the first indigenous leader ever elected to the presidency of Bolivia some years ago. THis occurred much to the chagrin of the hemispheric oligarchs. And this alone was enough to put a target on his back; there have been hints of thwarted coups and other events aimed at removing Morales from office. During his tenure, Busheviks went so far as to offer US aid to the land-owners and colonial barons of the Bolivian altiplano if they would rise against Morales. And Obama has not let up the pressure.
But other than the "usuall" mortal animus borne by Washington toward ANY even remotely leftish leader ANYWHERE in its self-claimed direct (hemi)sphere of influence, I had not figured out why Morales was the subject of such strenuous efforts to unseat him. He hasn't provoked Washington at all like, say, Chavez did and still does. What gives, I asked myself?
Now I know.
Bolivia owns the largest natural store of lithium in the world. Lithium has become the basis for the de facto tachnology ofr the battery-driven society. In Bolivia, there is enough lithium for 4.8 BILLION electric cars.
And suddenly it became clear why the last two USer regimes were so eager to teplace the populist Morales.
If they failed, the vast wealth accruing from this unlikely but plentiful resource might actually redound to the benefit and prosperity of the Bolivian people--descendants of the Maya which were obliterated 500 years ago by the Spaniards in their ruthless pursuit of the riches of the Americas. They bashed children's heads against trees and tossed babies to their dogs--onstead of to the bank accounts of the dominant euro-american elite. And THAT would NEVER do. If any of those ancient injustices were allowed to be redeemed, such a thing could spread, dangerously.
So, Ivo Must Go.
And were I he, I would utterly eschew the services of small, privately owned aircraft, since there appears to be an engeineering anomaly peculiar to such planes, in that they often blow up and crash when occupied by the targeted leader...