article in today’s New York Times discusses the poor results of water
privatization and nationalization in Bolivia, as well as the country’s
turbid future as it struggles to reform.
days of protests and martial law, Bechtel – the American multinational
that had increased rates when it began running the waterworks – was
forced out. As its executives fled the city, protest leaders pledged to
improve service and a surging leftist political movement in Latin
America celebrated the ouster as a major victory, to be repeated in
country after country.
Today, five years later, water is again as cheap as ever, and a
group of community leaders runs the water utility, Semapa. But half of
Cochabamba’s 600,000 people remain without water, and those who do have
service have it only intermittently – for some, as little as two hours
a day, for the fortunate, no more than 14.
part is that I have read the exact same article by Juan at least four
times in the last two years – although sometimes the names of Peru or
Ecuador are plugged in for Bolivia, or electricty/gas replaces water as
the featured sector.
See also my earlier post on some surprising benefits of water privatization.