Photographer/tumblogger Clayton Cubitt says, "Bolivia is the Saudi Arabia of lithium, the metal needed for the batteries that will power our electric car future. I saw this ITN report on News Hour the other night, and was stunned by the visuals and the story."
Half a world away, Bolivia's president, Evo Morales, is going for a drive in an electric car. The French auto magnate, Vincent Bollore, whose company has developed the vehicle is showing him the prototypes.
Morales is a socialist determined to uphold the rights of Bolivia's indigenous people. He says the Americans are all imperialists, so the Frenchman sees an opportunity to win favor and get the lithium.
VINCENT BOLLORE, French businessman (through translator): It's you who controls the raw materials for the 21st and 22nd centuries. You're like Saudi Arabia. It's you.
LINDSEY HILSUM: In the Bolivian capital La Paz, they're dreaming about that pot of gold. A new socialist constitution says foreign companies exploiting the country's natural resources must reinvest all profits in Bolivia.
LUIS ALBERTO ECHAZU, Bolivian minister of mining (through translator): Any company which would like to work with us will have to develop industries here, otherwise there's nothing. It's very simple: We will not continue exporting raw materials for another 500 years. That is over.
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