Spain's government today condemned the nationalisation of airport firm Sabsa by Bolivia.
President Evo Morales nationalised the Spanish-owned venture that runs Bolivia's three main airports on Monday in his government's third expropriation of a Spanish company in 10 months.
Spain's Foreign Ministry said it "deeply deplored" the fact that it wasn't warned and "the police occupation of its offices."
It fumed that it would "reconsider the whole of relations" with Bolivia in light of the "unfriendly act, combined with other similar measures" that the left-wing government has taken against Spanish companies.
Sabsa runs airports in La Paz, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba.
It is a joint venture between Barcelona-based Abertis and Spain's airport authority AENA.
Mr Morales, who was backed by the company's unionised workers, said that the company had failed to make promised investments.
The airports were privatised in 1996 and the contract was originally intended to run until 2025.
Mr Morales said that Abertis-Aena had committed to invest £17 million from 2006 to 2011 but only put up £3.6m.
He accused the venture of seeking only "to maximise profits" at state expense.
He said Bolivia would hire an independent analyst to determine fair compensation for the takeover.
Mr Morales has nationalised several foreign firms since taking office in 2006, enterprises that he classes as public utilities and thus the property of the Bolivian people.
In his first year in office, he renegotiated contracts with a dozen hydrocarbon companies, including Repsol, Petrobras, BG and Total, to provide Bolivia with a greater share of revenues from natural gas production.
And in 2009 the government transferred to state control the country's largest telephone operator, which had been controlled by Italy's ETI.
On December 30 his government took over electricity distribution subsidiaries of Spanish energy company Iberdrola.
In May he nationalised electricity transmission firm TDE, owned by Spanish company Red Electrica, which controlled 74 per cent of the grid.
And in 2010 he did the same with the four largest power generators, which had belonged to French-owned GDF Suez and Rurelec of Britain.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.
Official inflation figures understate the real extent of rising costs, but even the government's own CPI scheme lays bare the ongoing misery for working people and those dependent on benefits.
The Con-Dems have had it their way too long. We have to turn this country around
How high-quality primary schooling could help solve global poverty