Dear Friends,Below is an international sign-on letter to support the people of El Alto, Bolivia in their struggle for the basic human right to clean and affordable water. The situation is urgent! Key community leaders are now in the 10th day of a hunger strike. Police are threatening to intervene in the picket.
Please sign on to this letter by sending your name, name of your organization, and country to [email protected] prior to March 7, 2005. We also wish to encourage you to fax or e-mail the Spanish version of this letter (below) on your organizational letterhead to the addresses listed at the bottom of the page.
Dear Mr. Carlos de Mesa, Presidente de la Republica de BoliviaMr. Jose Luis Paredes, Alcalde de la ciudad de El AltoMr. Juan del Granado, Alcalde de la ciudad de La PazMr. Eric Navarro, Superintendente de Saneamiento Basico
We, the undersigned, wish to express solidarity with the 200,000 inhabitants of the city of El Alto, Bolivia who do not have access to potable water. We condemn the activities of the water transnational Aguas de Illimani (majority shareholder, Suez) that raised water rates to unaffordable levels, imposed high connection fees, and left many using untreated water from rivers and streams.
We wish to stand in support of the courageous and admirable citizens of El Alto who successfully organized to demand the termination of the contract with the water transnational Suez. In specific, we wish to express our solidarity and support for the following:
1. We support the proposal of the citizen's of El Alto who have called for a new, public water company with democratic governance, social responsibility and citizen oversight.
2. We support the citizens of El Alto in their total rejection of the government's current proposal to create a supposed "New Model" of a public/private partnership where Suez would continue to hold 35% of the shares.
3. We condemn the actions of the transnational water company Suez that, because of the contract termination, is now threatening to initiate a lawsuit against the government of Bolivia in the World Bank-sponsored International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes. This reflects a direct conflict of interest because the WorldBank held 8% of the shares in the old water company Aguas de Illimani.
4. We call on the government of Bolivia and the mayors of El Alto and La Paz to ensure that the democratic and human rights of the citizensof Bolivia to peaceably assemble, protest and express their grievances be respected. 5. We urge you to take immediate action to resolve this situation. The serious of the crisis is reflected by the hungar strike that the leaders of the Federation of Neighborhood Associations, FEJUVE have been undergoing since February 21, 2005. The health of a key leader ofFEJUVE is now in serious condition.
We wish to press upon you the greatest possible urgency. Please respond to the grievances of the citizens of El Alto and La Paz.
We look forward to receiving your answer to this letter.
Cordialmente, Addresses for fax and e-mail letters:
SenorCarlos de MesaPresidente de la republica de [email protected]: (591-2) 2153829
SenorJose Luis ParedesAlcalde de la ciudad de El [email protected]: (591-2) 2833341
SenorJuan del GranadoAlcalde de la ciudad de La PazFax: (591-2) [email protected]