The following piece is an early submission for the Stop Veolia Zine Project. SVS is still accepting short research articles, stories, interviews, illustrations, comics, photographs, drawings, anything that you think helps to tell the story of Veolia and resistances to its corporatization of public services. Deadline for submissions is May 15th.
The Rising Water in Bolivia and Latin America
Marcela at the Veolia headquarters in France
Over the past decade, we have removed bad governments, kicked out corporations and rejected many World Bank and International Monetary Fund policies after they stole our natural resources and ruined an already crippled economy with their “shock therapy” prescriptions. We also successfully waged the historic “Cochabamba Water War of 2000” that recovered our water from an international consortium. The people of Uruguay won the first battle in the polls introducing the right to water in their constitution. Their example has spread all over Latin America.
Social movements have mobilized and have changed the political face of this continent. But the struggles haven’t stopped. Water embraces and strengthens other urgent challenges that are happening now across the continent. Water is the one issue where everything intersects; it crosses over into political and economic issues in every region and in every country. People’s struggles over water are about having their voices heard, having better living conditions, establishing their rights to basic survival needs, and determining their own political and economic futures. That is what we call direct democracy. In Bolivia, the water rights struggle has given birth to a political shift. Water has become a symbol of our struggle for political and economic autonomy and for regaining our dignity.