Bloomberg News

Chile Minister to Step Down After Protests, Congressman Says

March 27, 2012

Chile’s Energy Minister Rodrigo Alvarez submitted his resignation following two months of protests in the southern region of Aysen, Patricio Melero, a member of the lower house of congress, told Radio Cooperativa.

Alvarez resigned after being excluded from talks that ended the conflict over fuel prices, said Melero, who will become the next president of UDI, one of Chile’s ruling political parties. President Sebastian Pinera is a member of the other ruling party Renovacion Nacional. The government hasn’t confirmed or denied that Alvarez submitted his resignation.

Alvarez, an UDI member, is Pinera’s fourth energy minister since the billionaire entrepreneur-turned-politician took office in March 2010. Chile, the world’s largest copper producer, imports more than 90 percent of its fossil fuel needs.

The government signed a deal with Aysen community leaders in Santiago on March 23, ending two months of sometimes violent protests in the Patagonia region over petroleum and firewood subsidies. Calls to the energy ministry’s communications department weren’t answered.

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To contact the reporters on this story: Randall Woods in Santiago at; Matthew Craze in Santiago at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at

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