Bolivia and Argentina's nationalization of Spanish companies hasn't gone over well in Madrid. Spanish officials say Bolivia and Argentina will pay the price in the long run, as investors become weary of doing business if their assets could ultimately get seized.
A British winemaker has finally been given official approval to release a limited-edition wine made in collaboration with Malbec grape growers in Argentina, on one condition: It can't sell the wine, or label it a Malbec. Actually, it can't even call it wine at all.
The Chapel Down winery's only option for getting rid of its wine is to give it away as a sample, calling it a "fruit-derived alcoholic beverage from produce sourced outside the EU."
Just the arrival of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner prompted supporters in her Peronist movement to break into chants last Monday. The event, choreographed to feel momentous, was at the presidential palace. Fernandez de Kirchner announced plans to expropriate assets of the Spanish oil firm Repsol in Argentina.
Through a window, television viewers could see a huge image of Evita Peron, the famous 1950s-era populist whose presence is deeply felt in today's government.
It's sounds like a story from the past: A Latin American leader announces plans to nationalize a large foreign company, touching off a high-stakes battle that involves money, politics and diplomacy.
Yet it's happening right now. Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez said this week that her country plans to take over a giant Spanish oil company at a time when the economies in both countries are facing challenges.
Spanish officials are threatening to retaliate against Argentina for seizing a majority of shares in the biggest oil company in Argentina, YPF.