So today, instead of starting my next assignment I watched this documentary concerning water:
I have been attempting to do research to find a transnational corporation that has been accused of violating human rights. Of course, i was not lacking in options of cases to study. It seems in the ever expanding global situation the people of the world are routinely being pushed to the bottom of the list of state priorities as the big money and natural resource scramble take precedence.
After a few days of initial research i settled on the case of Bechtel water vs the people of Cochabamba Bolivia in 2000. Bechtel bought the water system and hiked the prices up so high some people were forced to spend almost half their monthly income on water alone. I remember hearing about this situation many years ago and completely disbelieving that a corporation could privatize water. Water is an essential human right. It is the cause of life and a necessity to exist. I remember being shocked at the details of the contract between the Bolivian government and Bechtel, stating that the people may not even collect rain water for private use.
I thought i would get some background information via this documentary that was released last year, highlighting some of the conflicts over water that are occurring around the world right now as i write, and the nature of the transnational beast.
The case in Cochabamba appeals to me personally as it shows the power of the pressure of the people. By rising up against the corporation and government policy (and World Bank debt relief policy) the people won. As noted in blue gold, the people were asking who the government troops and police were protecting... the transnational corporation or the governments contractual interests? Because it certainly was not the people of Bolivia.
At the cost of one 17 year old boys life, and the wounding of many others, the people of Bolivia showed that resistance is possible and effective.