Monday, May 5, 2008
The Water Is Ours
Seen in the Strip District, April 18, 2008, This stopped me in my tracks. It was one of our first warm days of Spring and the streets were alive with people on their lunch breaks. Everyone was walking or eating or smoking and generally enjoying the weather. People kept walking around me when I stopped to read this and take the picture. It was especially poignant because of the water damage, the text streaked by rain, when the topic was the right to WATER. This is what it says:
"The water is ours damnit!" In 1999, under pressure from the World Bank, the Bolivian government, sold off the water system of its 3rd largest city Cochabamba behind closed doors to multi-national investors including the Bechtel Corporation. Over night people were asked to pay 25% of their income for water including collected rainfall and backyard wells. Months of protese ensued. The country was declared under martial law but thousands took to the streets. This, combined with international activist pressure forced Bechtel to flee the country. Despite subsequent attempts to sue Bolivia for $25M in loss of "potential profit," the people of Cochabamba succeeded in defeating a corporate giant and reclaiming control of one of life's most neccessary resources.