Abstract: Canadian Multinational Corporations and Latin American Nationalism: New Sources and Interpretations for the Imperial Oil Company

Marcelo Bucheli


During the twentieth century, Canadian capital invested in the Latin American oil sector through the International Petroleum Company (IPC), which faced the opposition of nationalist groups who considered the firm was exploiting their countries. This paper shows how by using a body of recently available or understudied primary sources we can understand in which way the Canadian political and economic environment affected IPC's operations in Colombia and Peru, the profitability of its operations, and its relationship with the British government when confronting Latin American nationalism. My paper shows: (a) IPC's expansion to Latin America responded to harsh competition and little government support in Canada, (b) IPC's profits in Latin America were lower than has been argued elsewhere and, (c) IPC preferred to use Britain and the United States as their home governments when negotiating with the Latin American governments, rather than the Canadian government.