San Salvador June 16, 2018
This morning members of more than seventy social organizations, environmentalists, youth, women groups, churches, unions and universities across the country marched through the main streets of San Salvador to make the public launch of the National Alliance against the Privatization of Water in El Salvador, as a space for coordinating the popular struggle against the threat of commodification of our vital liquid.
We denounce the arrogant water privatization strategy promoted by the oligarchic groups of the country and pushed through the Legislative Assembly by the right wing parties ARENA, PCN, GANA and PDC in coordination with the National Business Association ANEP, through the approval of the so called "Integral Water Law".
The law proposes the creation of a National Water Authority, an autonomous entity that guarantees a majority representation of the business sector in its board of directors through the appointment of two directors from ANEP and its business chambers and two directors from COMURES (a private corporation that brings together municipalities of El Salvador). Both institutions are closely linked with ARENA and add four votes while the executive government can only appoint one. To complement the privatization strategy, a super board of directors is created with absolute powers to control every action, from hiring personnel, managing the water tribunal, controlling local watershed committees, assigning permits, resolving conflicts over the use of water, establishing fees for services, regulating tariffs and other strategic policies of the national water distribution system ANDA.
That is to say, the law proposes the creation of a mechanism that allows the legalization of dispossession (exploitation and contamination) currently carried out by some companies (such as the sugar cane industry) in the interior of the country; in addition to exercising control of ANDA to privatize its most profitable activities.
We are convinced that one of the main oligarchic groups that promotes the "Integral Law of Water" is the sugar industry, (that utilizes 30% of the water consumed throughout the country annually).
The industry finances right wing political parties to continue to avoid paying for exploiting water resources and regulation. A report by the Secretary of Citizen Participation on the financing of political parties indicates that sugar mills, including CASSA, El Angel, La Cabaña, Chaparrastique, Jiboa and people linked to the industry as Tomas Regalado Dueñas and Tomas Regalado O'sullivan, disbursed at least $ 3.2 million in political campaign donations mainly to the ARENA party, which in 2013 alone received $ 1.3 million and $430 thousand in 2017, the same year the PCN and PDC parties received $200 thousand and $80 thousand respectively.
We reject the repression that authorities of the university community were subjected on Thursday June 14th, by the Presidency of the Legislative Assembly, for the simple act of marching against the privatization of water. We also reject the accusations from parties and media outlets at the service of the oligarchy, that we are terrorists, FMLN-linked groups that are launching a smoke screen in the face of government corruption.
We want to clarify that the fight for water began in 2006 with the presentation of the General Water Law proposal by the Water Forum. Since then we have promoted a dialogue a at the legislature for the law to be approved. The dialogue was ended by the right wing parties and the ANEP in June 2017 with the presentation of the "Integral Water Law".
We make an urgent call to social organizations, churches, students and Salvadoran society in general to join in one voice to fight until a General Water Law that guarantees Public Management, community participation, sustainability and the human right to water for the Salvadoran population is approved
Members of the National Alliance against Privatization of Water:
Foro del Agua El Salvador, ASGOJU, AMEYALLI, ASAVIPAZ, ACTIVISTA, ANDES 21 de Junio, Asociación Juvenil Santaneca, ADES, ARPAS, ARUMES, ASPRODE, ACUA, ADESCOLCO, Asociación Juvenil pioner@s de El Salvador, BPJ, Centro de Desarrollo Comunal, CDC, CRIPDES, CONFRAS, CONPHAS, CESTA, Comunidades Unidas de Santiago Texacuangos, Caminata Ecológica, Coordinadora Estudiantil, Colectiva Shumul, ECOS El Salvador, Foro Nacional de Salud, FECORACEN, FSS, FSM, Federación LGBTI, FESPAD, FURD, IMU, KAWOQ, MESUTSO, MOVIAC, Mesa Territorial Ahuachapán Sur, MECH, MSM, MOMUJEST, MJDVERDA, Movimiento 5 Mas, MPR-12, Mesoamericanas en Resistencia, MPS, Mesa por la Soberanía Alimentaria, Movimiento Enlaces por la Sustentabilidad, Movimiento por la Defensa de Tacuzcalco, Movimiento de Profesionales de la Salud “ Dr. Salvador Allende”, Movimiento de artistas y creadores, ORMUSA, PROES, Patronato Lidia Coggiola, PROVIDA, Kolectivo San Jacinto, LAS MELIDAS, RACDES, RAA, Red de Genero de ALAMES, Red de ambientalistas de Santo Tomas, REDES, SITRANDA, SENAMA, Sínodo Luterano Salvadoreño, SETA, SITRAUES, SETUES, TUYULU, UNTS, UES, UCA, UJRM, UNES, SITADMES.