Water in private hands

Water in private hands

By Dr. Freddy Pacheco

The Global Water Partnership, together with the IMF and the World Bank, jointly promote the activity of private companies dedicated to the water business, restricting state investment in the drinking water supply sector, while opening it up to foreign investment, in order to in this way, face the "state inability" to deal with the problem.

For Tony Clarke, from the Polaris Institute, due to a strategic network of pressure groups linked to national politicians, the world water industry is moving towards privatization. “This network includes the‘ Global Water Partnership -GWP-… ’initially led by a vice president of the World Bank, associated with governments and cooperation agencies of industrialized countries and other international financial institutions. Obvious action since GWP played a fundamental role in the organization of the World Water Forum held in The Hague in 2000, “which placed a strong emphasis on the promotion of partnerships with public-private participation -PPP- as the solution to the crisis world of water. "

Other prestigious publications reaffirm that GWP, together with the IMF and the World Bank, jointly promote the activity of private companies dedicated to the water business, restricting state investment in the drinking water supply sector, while opening it ("opening" , they say) to foreign investment, in order to face the "state's inability" to deal with the problem.

In a study on the social movement around water management in Nicaragua, developed from government initiatives aimed at granting “under concession” the administration of the state company in charge of supplying drinking water, it is read: “GWP describes itself as well as a network aimed at the action of organizations interested in water issues and whose mission is to find the necessary tools to solve water problems, especially in Third World countries. However, the MS perceives it as an organization lacking a social base, made up of consultants hired - by transnational companies involved in the water business - whose task is to prepare the way for privatization, through the establishment of relationships with the government. State and with other civil organizations. "

Nicaraguan citizens reacted in this way to the fact that GWP supports international financial organizations that "promote the creation of municipal companies with Public-Private Participation (PPP)." By using the administration of drinking water in Puerto Cortés, Honduras as an example, they conclude that "this is a model that wants to be reproduced in the municipalities of Nicaragua and in all the countries of the region."

The serious thing is that (as it happens in other privatized sectors) the message of the World Bank states that "the country that refuses to do so will see credits for other investments in the public sector cut", according to a message unambiguously issued by one of the " heroes ”of the invasion of Iraq, Paul Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank, during the World Water Forum held in Mexico, where one of the“ interested parties ”, the millionaire Carlos Slim, also spoke.

Now, if it were just an ideological matter useful for an academic discussion, the matter would be inconsequential. But since it is more about the human right to access to drinking water, it would be necessary to see how they could pay - covering the costs of the service - the poor of the world ... and of Costa Rica.

On the other hand, it is not difficult to foresee what would have happened, had it been successful in 2002, the project of former President Miguel Rodríguez to give our country's water in concession, for which the corporate finance consultancy created by former Morgan Stanley partners Dean Witter, the Spanish “N plus 1”, whose execution would have caused a brutal increase in rates to pay for an investment of $ 300 million. Suez and Thames, giant transnationals in the water business, had shown their interest, along with Bechtel.

Obviously the "motivation" is illustrated in the annual income of $ 160,000 million dollars (as of 2002) obtained by the French Suez and Vivendi, and the German RWE-Thames, and in the "special" benefits that some would obtain for their " success". Beware of the announced FTA with the European Union that could be part of the business there!

As the Costa Rican people could not bear an attack of such magnitude on their well-being, we call attention to this, with the hope that the same people will know how to denounce the promoters of such crime, in order to avoid the thirst that is looming. Let us also remember that the FTA could not prevent the indiscriminate extraction and export of bottled water, which is already part of the business of corporations installed on Costa Rican soil.

* Dr. Freddy Pacheco
Professor UNA
June 2, 2006

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