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Chile: A Carnival in Defense of Water Sweeps : Alternative World Water Forum

Alternative World Water Forum

More than 100 environmental, social and indigenous organizations protested Monday in the Chilean capital to demand that the state regain control over the management of water, which was privatized by the dictatorship in 1981.

According to the organizers, one of whom was former student leader Camila Vallejo, who plans to run for parliament for the Communist Party, more than 6,000 people took part in the peaceful, colorful “Great Carnival March for the Recovery and Defense of Water” in Santiago.

The demonstrators also delivered a letter to right-wing President Sebastián Piñera, complaining that the water shortages affecting local communities were not only due to persistent drought but also to structural problems in the policies governing the exploitation of natural resources.

“We have discovered that there is water in Chile, but that the wall that separates it from us is called ‘profit’ and was built by the (1981) water code, the constitution, international agreements like the Binational Mining Treaty (with Argentina) and, fundamentally, the imposition of a culture where it is seen as normal for the water that falls from the sky to have owners,” the letter says.

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