Since the Spanish stumbled across the mines of Potosi, Bolivia’s rich natural resource base has been exploited by colonial powers, neighboring countries, and even by some of its own people. But something happened over the past two decades. Bolivia’s marginalized masses elected Evo Morales, an indigenous campesino, with a mandate to change the country’s development trajectory. Responding to their demands, Morales sought to redirect the flows of the country’s natural resource riches away from the coffers of wealthy nation-states and investors and towards the Bolivian people. But the actions of the Bolivian state under Morales present a paradox: in a global economy controlled by powerful transnational corporations, how can a country mired in a history of poverty and colonial exploitation take control over its natural resource wealth? To answer this question, An Unconventional Alliance brings readers from the boardrooms of transnational extraction firms, to the halls of power in the Bolivian legislature, to the front lines of social movement struggles. Utilizing the words of corporate executives, government officials, workers, and peasant farmers, the book illustrates how the successes of Bolivia’s social movements are intimately tied to the strategies and struggles of transnational investors and national elites.