Abstract: Multinationals and Politics in Latin America: The Case of Standard Oil Co. (New Jersey) in Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, and Argentina

Marcelo Bucheli


In the 1920s the Standard Oil Company faced the hostility of the left-wing Mexican Revolutionary government, which eventually expropriated the company's properties in 1938. As nationalist rhetoric increased before 1938 in Mexico, Standard Oil explored new fields in Colombia and Venezuela, countries ruled by foreign business-friendly, right-wing governments who gave very generous concessions to foreign multinationals. In contrast to these two countries and revolutionary Mexico, consumer countries like Chile and Argentina tried to establish strong control over foreign oil capital without making their countries a threat to multinationals. This paper compares Standard's reactions to different kinds of nationalism in these Latin American countries and the way it adapted to the variety of uncertain scenarios.