Another multinational water privatizer is packing its bags and leaving Bolivia. Last week, neighbourhood organizations in the Bolivian city of El Alto launched an indefinite general strike demanding that Aguas del Illimani â€” a company whose main shareholder and operator is French water giant Suez â€” immediately return the city’s water system to public control. Three days later, they marched en masse to the capital to claim their victory and reiterate their full set of demands.
The events in El Alto and La Paz follow the dramatic 2000 Water War in Bolivia’s third largest city, Cochabamba. After five months of intense public revolt, the people of Cochabamba regained control of their water system from U.S. giant Bechtel and its water privatizing partners.