REMEMBERING THE WATER WAR IN COCHABAMBA, BOLIVIA
➡️ In November 1999, the transnational Bechtel Company👺 (branded Aguas del Tunari, based in San Francisco) took over water💧 distribution for the city of Cochabamba🌄 (then inhabited by three quarters of a million people) and tripled service prices📈. Urban residents complained and some organised protests.🔊
➡️President Bánzer’s government sent a hundred police officers🐷 on vehicles from La Paz to repress the civil population. They used tear gas💣, which enraged people in the valley.
➡️ From April 4 to 11, 2000, responding to a call by the Coordinadora del Agua3, people in Cochabamba blockaded 👫their city and ruled themselves, driving the Prefect (regional representative of the central government) to resign🚫.They faced police and military repression, defeated it💪🏽, and forced the government to negotiate and give in, annulling its concession contract with the Bechtel Company🚫. ➡️The rebel process would continue for the next years, disarming the massacre programme of President Sánchez de Lozada. A million people in La Paz would lead him to flee the government seat🏃♂️, opening the road for the current change process that has broadened the social space of democracy in Bolivia.💫
✅The water war is also a victory 🏆at an international level🌎, one more link in the chain to stop transnational companies from their march to expropriate public resources and essential living conditions, like water.