YPF, which stands for Fiscal Petroleum Fields in English, was privatized in 1993 by former president Carlos Menem, and purchased by Repsol in 1999. Kirchner said she sent a bill to Congress – almost certain to pass in both houses – that will permit her government to expropriate YPF.
“We are the only country in [the Americas], and nearly the world, that doesn’t control its own natural resources,” Kirchner said in front of a mural of Eva Perón, the second wife of former president Juan Perón, who oversaw the mass nationalization of Argentine industry and public services in the late 1940s. “This is the recuperation of the sovereignty of Argentina’s natural resources,” she said.
Kirchner’s nationalistic rhetoric was explicit in her address yesterday, and it has played an integral part in the Argentine dispute with the UK over the Falkland Islands the past few months. Her call for the nationalization of resources sparked celebrations by pro-Kirchner groups in the Plaza de Mayo, the main square in Buenos Aires.