Until dignity becomes a habit

La Ligua, Cabildo and Petorca (towns of the province of Petorca 170km from Santiago de Chile), are for a long time from the “Kingdom of Machiavelli”, because in our towns applies the principle of “the end justifies the means«. That is to say, water at any price to improve the surplus value of the agrarian and mining entrepreneurs, undermining population’s access to drinking water, endangering seriously the life in the province.

Intake pipes and private wells built illegally deplete and dry the groundwater, hills planted “to infinity” with avocados for exportation, overexploited basins, incapable and indifferent government institutions, and entrepreneurs and politics colluded to steal water are part of the “perfect storm” created in our land (see DanWatch’s article: https://old.danwatch.dk/en/undersogelse/avocados-and-stolen-water/).

Water dispossession in the province of Petorca is exemplified in the town of Cabildo, considered by national and international media as the epicenter of the violation of human right to water, as the epicenter of stolen water. Here it’s been naturalized the provision of water by trucks,

Because in Chile water is a business, a business that makes millionaires of those who have speculated with water for a long time, and have speculated with the water for their plantations and speculated with drinking water and with basic public services of the people of Cabildo. It is in Cabildo where women and men have been criminalized for defending water as a human right. It is in Cabildo where the peasants are deprived of their water to accomplish their essential purpose, produce food for their families and for the regional and local markets.

The facts are touching, you just need to take a look to the bridge of Cabildo and see what has  become of the river; a dry, abandoned, and inhospitable landscape.  Have you asked how many children born in years of water dispossession, don’t know what is the river and what means the river for our lives? In which way that memory it’s going to mark them for all their lives? In which way this will influence their relationship with nature? Growing in a place where stealing water is an impunity practice.

In this context, April 21th of 2018, we went to the streets of Cabildo massively, and we did it with our families, with a big number of children, gather in the main square of the town, full colors, music and placards that showed a widespread feeling; “NO MORE STEALING OF WATER”.

The people of Cabildo know perfectly what has happened to their territory related with water commodification. Today we stand and we hope that this beautiful and colorful impulse becomes the preamble of justice for the commons. Reclaim water for all communities and territories!

Cabildo, April 21 of 2018
The day when common people once more stood up for justice and dignity.

See also the short-documentary “SECOS” (“DRY”) about water privatization in Chile (with English subtitles): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1H_Rdn7c8HM&t=55s

Movement of defense of water, land and environment (MODATIMA) – Chile