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El Salvador’s Water: Not for Sale!

When: Friday, June 22, 2018, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Where: United for a Fair Economy • 62 Summer St. • near downtown crossing • Boston

 

 

?ui=2&ik=3a65a34091&view=fimg&th=163fed513ca748b3&attid=0.0.1.1&disp=emb&attbid=ANGjdJ-UVl3C_PV-eWyGP3MBycbktN8Uwtu_okzZ1nkVNrKs1JrNHTeYr1WPckAiCtvIuxMZO3WZt3w5qxwLhQ82jf21Lo9kSyq_MnA95aWd8kh6NACv4dFuDp6KQcY&sz=w796-h436&ats=1529076900310&rm=163fed513ca748b3&zw&atsh=1Webinar with social movement leader Karen Ramírez

 

UFE  62 Summer St, Boston (Downtown Crossing T; enter on Otis St) 

Sponsored by CISPES; boston@cispes.org,https://www.facebook.com/cispesboston/ 857-928-5458

Co-sponsored by Grassroots International, Cambridge and Arlington El Salvador Sister Cities

For many years, the popular movement in El Salvador has successfully fended off right-wing and international attempts to privatize their water. In 2017, they also made world history by passing the first-ever national ban on mining, driven in large part by defense of the right to clean water.

However, following the 2018 legislative elections, the right-wing parties have taken firm control of El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly and the battle to defend the human right to water is heating up quickly.   Environmental and community organizations are warning of threats to the mining ban and that the right-wing  have their opening to write corporate control over water into the law,  Popular organizations and the FMLN are preparing massive popular resistance.

The Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) is pleased to host a special webinar with Karen Ramírez of PROVIDA, an organization working to strengthen community access to health, water and much more. PROVIDA is part of the National Water Forum (Foro de Agua), the national coalition leading the fight to protect water as a human right and a public good, to stop water privatization, and to protect water defenders from persecution.

Following Karen’s remarks, which will be translated into English, there will be an opportunity for a live Q & A.

Join us to find out how the U.S. government is promoting corporate control over water through public-private partnerships, the political panorama in the country today, and, most importantly, what YOU can do to support the struggle for water rights in El Salvador!

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(From Transparencia, a Salvadoran government newsletter-translation by CISPES National Office)

 

 

Legislative Assembly begins analysis and approval of articles in ANEP’s proposed water law

By José Mejía 

With 9 votes, the Environmental Commission in the Legislative Assembly approved on June 5 the first five articles of a proposed water law that was presented by the National Association of Private Enterprise (ANEP) on June 14, 2017. The articles concern the institutions governing water, the oversight body and who will administer water resources. [This decision] undermines the discussions and approval of 92 articles [of the General Water Law proposal] that took place within the previous Environmental Commission, which has the support of organizations that are part of the Foro del Agua and experts on the issue. 

The deputies that now form the Commission also discarded the proposed Water Law that the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) had proposed and refused to receive [representatives of] the University of Central America or the Archbishop of the Catholic Church, who had also presented proposals on this issue and are interested in ensuring that a law is passed that protects water, that would ensure that water is administered by the state and that water is a protected right for all citizens. 

To the Church and the UCA, deputies responded that they would “take their opinion in writing.”

The deputies of the FMLN denounced this roll back that has resulted from the new right-wing bloc disregarding the agreements and advances that had been achieved by consensus in the past legislative session and that have been under discussion since 2012.

Rina Araujo, deputy from the leftist party and member of the commission, expressed that all the past efforts of support and participation from the organizations that have very involved in the issue were basically trashed, since they won’t be taken into account under ANEP’s proposed Water Law.  

Given that the right-wing parties have the majority in the Environmental Commission for the new legislative term, they will consider ANEP’s proposal for the Water Law, which proposes water being managed by an oversight body (ente rector) composed of 4 representative from the business sector and 1 representative from the government.

Araujo assured that this initiative “gives the legal authority to private business to administer a public resource, which is a human right and should be administered by a public entity. There are already people who can’t pay for water; given that it’s a human right, it should be guaranteed for all citizens.” 

The deputy warned that this measure could generate the same effect as the privatization of the telecommunications sector and pensions, which are now overwhelmingly forms of exploitation and skyrocketing profit-gouging with no respect of the rights of consumers.  

Danilo Pérez, the Executive director of the Center for the defense of the Consumer (CDC) and member of the “Taking Care of our Shared Home” reacted to the decision, saying that “the attitude of the right-wing politicians is mercantilist and at the service of capital.”

According to environmentalists, these discussions foreshadow the eminent privatization of this resource. For their part, the Catholic Church and other citizen organization are launching a signature collection campaign to demand that a General Water law that mandates state oversight be approved. 

The debate about the approval of the law has brought together diverse sectors, including environmental and labor organizations, academics, communities and indigenous populations to demand that water not be privatized in the Legislative Assembly.

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