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Direitos Humanos / 08/07/2020

How privatization left Chileans without access to water

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How privatization left Chileans without access to water

Fonte DCO

During the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) the Water Code was created, in which the natural good began to be treated as a commodity, being able to be sold, bought and inherited.

Problems with access to water are recurrent in the lives of many workers around the world, and this is due to several factors, including poor resource management, especially with the privatization of basic sanitation, as it is being proposed and already approved by the Federal Senate in the Basic Sanitation Bill (PL4162 / 19, of the Executive Branch).

Privatizations, usually proposed by neoliberal and right-wing governments, always arrive as the salvation of some public service that is completely scrapped or disorganized, even on purpose, so that the hands of the big capitalists are handed over while the population receives an expensive and lower quality service, this when he receives, as complaints about the lack of service are recurrent, especially with regard to basic sanitation.

Chile is a great example of the drastic consequences for the population that a privatization of the basic sanitation service can bring to workers. During the hard and bloody dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1976-1990), the Water Code was created, in which the natural good began to be treated as property and merchandise, being able to be bought, sold, and even inherited. This meant that Chilean waters became an article of the bourgeoisie and of large companies and monopolies while workers are still facing several problems to gain access to a necessary asset for survival.

Today, the water that should belong to all Chileans is in the hands of the big capitalists. In the south of the country it is controlled by hydroelectric dams; in the center, by large agricultural companies and in the north, by mining companies, which are mostly large transnationals and have almost 100% of the right over the country's groundwater.

While capitalists use water to continue to profit at the expense of workers, populations suffer rationing and the lack of recurrent water, they often have to choose between washing clothes or making food, because the scarcity is great. In the region of Valparaíso, there is great agricultural production, for example, large companies extract water directly the sources of rivers, leave workers without access to water or find dry rivers, as is the case of the river Lígua. In the region, homes need to be supplied by government water trucks, residents are entitled to 50 liters of water per day, which is equivalent to a 5-minute bath. In addition, populations often need to buy water, which is not cheap, on average each 1000 liters of water costs $ 14, with the majority of the population earning less than $ 23 a day.

In addition to the basic problems with access to water, in some regions the populations have also lost their income, as they are no longer able to work in agriculture or livestock due to lack of water. According to the Modatima movement (Movement for the Defense of Water, Earth and the Environment), the Chilean State spends an average of 92,000 million pesos (R $ 500 thousand) a year on water trucks to serve the population, even in a deficient manner, money that could be better spent on facilities or water and sewage treatment if the service and the water itself were state owned. The water problem in Chile clearly shows how the class struggle occurs when a good is placed as a commodity, the working class suffers a lack of access while the great capitalists do what they want with the resources guaranteeing their profits without any concern with rationing or scarcity.

Placing an essential survival service as a commodity for negotiation between the great capitalists is a real attack on the working population. With privatizations, workers are subject to higher tariff collection, lack of supply, in addition to being more vulnerable to problems involving the lack of treated water and sewage, as investments are less when managed by private companies. In addition, several companies in other segments can take over rivers and springs using them for their own benefit. All these findings are not things taken our head, or invented, they are just reflections about what we have already had as an example both in Chile and right here in Brazil, in the city of Manaus (AM).

It is necessary to prevent the privatization of water in Brazil being carried out, workers cannot be subjected to having their living conditions even more degraded due to the interests of the great capitalists, and for that it is necessary to mobilize and overthrow the Bolsonaro government and all those who are part of the set of enemies of the population, who place capitalist interests above people's lives.

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