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At the World Water Forum, Bolivia took a position that water should be guaranteed as a fundamental human right. Along with three other Latin American countries, the new Bolivian Water Minister also lobbied to keep water privatization from being included in free trade agreements. One blogger, Nick Buxton, who usually writes at Open Veins attended the forum as part of a delegation from this newly created Ministry. He also wrote some thoughts at Red Pepper.
Marcela Olivera, assistant director of the Democracy Center, was a guest writer on Blog from Bolivia. Olivera, a well-known activist in this field, reflects on World Water Day, where it has not been widely celebrated in a country known for confrontations with multinational companies that signed contracts to privatize the water delivery services. The issue is far from being resolved and she asks, “How do you supply water to those who need it the most without extending a hand to privatization?”
Other natural resources also were on the mind of Bolivian bloggers. For example, a recent free trade agreement between the United States and Colombia threatens the soybean export from Bolivia. Jonathan Olguin, who has resolved to write at least one Spanish entry for every two English entries, writes that the soybean market will not be the only market to suffer (ES) when the ATPDEA agreement expires and without negotiating an agreement of its own. His Journal of Bolivian Business and Politics blog also wonders how President Morales’ proposed alternative to a free trade agreement, “People’s Trade Agreement” might work and that the phrase sounds a little like populism.
Boliviscopio’s (ES) Jaime Humérez Seleme begins with an old saying “God punishes without stone, nor stick,” and compares it to the effect of taking away the soybean market from Bolivia. In this case, he says that the U.S. used the soybean to punish the country (ES) without sticks and stones. Alexey also laments the loss of this important market, but also hopes that his coca tea is not taken away in similar fashion. In his blog Alexey Writes, he criticizes the new Foreign Minister’s declaration that coca should be part of a schoolchild’s breakfast. He points to two recent studies indicated that there is no nutritional value in this leaf.
In other news, four ex-presidents are being charged with various crimes, such as signing illegal contracts with the oil companies and also with the desactivation of missiles. Javier and his blog Una revisión de todo un poco (ES) wonders why the new government wants to try these former heads of state. There is only one that still remains in politics, the others have retired to private life or are no longer in the country. He writes, “this is further proof that change is in process, however, what is scary is we don’t know where it will go (ES).”
Finally, Corry in Bolivia recently wrote about his gravity-assisted bike trek down the “World’s Most Dangerous Road” in the Yungas region of Bolivia and Ergoth’s (ES) Isabella Fuente finally saw the Bolivian-Mexican film “American Visa,” (ES) which was sent to her in Spain by a friend.
I am especially impressed by the argument for and against water privatisation…
I am not entirely in agreement that extending a hand to privatisation will result in water to everyone…private companies do not care for the poor, they care only for their bottomlines…and if the poor make no difference to the bottomline, to hell with them, that will their perspective…
I live in India, where I see people becoming ill due to the lack of clean water…I appreciate that the state and central governments are doing their best to tackle this situation…I really do not think private companies will do a better job…
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