Skip to content

NEWS: Bolivian president denounces water privatization

The Inter Press Service (IPS) reports, “‘Water is life. Water is humanity. How could it be part of the private business?’ asked Bolivian President Evo Morales Wednesday, stressing the social and economic consequences of the growing trend of private ownership over water supply and delivery systems in many parts of the world. …More than two billion people across the world have no access to sanitation facilities and clean water. …’Without water, there can be no food, no life,’ he said, challenging the notion that water management by private corporations will accelerate the process of development. ‘Competition of any sort cannot resolve the issue of poverty.'”

“The first-ever indigenous president of Bolivia, who is well-known for his outspokenness and socialist views, said his government had already expelled some multinational companies that were seeking privatisation of water in his country. ‘Water is a basic public need that must not be managed by private interests, and that it should be available to all the people,’ he said, a view endorsed by a number of diplomats from the developing countries (including Brazil) who spoke at the General Assembly meeting.”

“The U.S. delegate also supported the view that access to water is a universal human right, but shied away from discussing the role of the private sector in the supply and distribution of drinking water. ‘The U.S. is committed to solving the world’s water problems,’ he said.”

“Asked by IPS if his views on the right to water are getting support from the richest countries, Morales said that Spain was the only country from the European Union that was in alliance with Bolivia on this subject.” (In the Globe and Mail today, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow called on the Canadian government to end its intransigence and recognize the right to water and sanitation. That’s at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/do-you-have-running-water-i-dont-and-i-live-in-canada/article2111867/.)

Xinhua reports, “UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon said here Wednesday that all member states should integrate the right to water and sanitation into their body of laws. Ban’s statement came as he addressed the UN General Assembly during a plenary meeting on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation. ‘Many of your governments have already included the rights to water and sanitation in your constitutions and your domestic legislation,’ Ban said. ‘Those governments that have yet to do so should follow suit without delay.'” This article can be read at http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/article_xinhua.asp?id=6048.

In February, Bloomberg reported that, “Bolivian President Evo Morales urged African leaders to back a proposed United Nations declaration that would block the sale of public water services to private companies.” More on that at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=5424.

The full IPS article can be read at http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=56654.