Sergio Alamaraz is a belligerent and articulate communist. In 1958 he published a history of Bolivian petroleum (see HAHR, XXXIV, no. 4). In this newest monograph Almaraz and his associate, Rocabado, consider Bolivia’s petroleum as the country’s most vital problem involving either economic enslavement or a hope for the future.
I agree moderately with Alamaraz and Rocabado. Bolivia’s history was tied to silver, then to tin, and the future lies with petroleum. The great social revolution of the 1950’s is partly a shift from tin to petroleum. And since the government nationalized tin the authors of this monograph consider it contradictory not to nationalize petroleum. Instead, Bolivia adopted a liberal petroleum code in 1956 which encouraged private investment. This is reversing history according to the authors. The usual communist arguments are handled adroitly by Almaraz and Rocabado to make this a most provocative study. Naturally the naïveté of their arguments often destroys the true historical lessons that the ages of silver and tin can render.