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By Rodrigo Mundaca
Because water is essential for human beings, it is intimately related in terms of access, supply and potability, to the development of life in decent conditions. The lack of water, the lack of continuous supply for personal and domestic uses, the denial of access for reasons of sex, race, age, social condition or economic factors, its inappropriate uses and its unhealthy, are each and every one of them, factors that directly threaten the lives of people and populations.
It turns out to be a commonplace to maintain that water is essential for life, essential for the preservation of ecosystems, essential for the development and well-being of communities.
In the same way, it is common sense to understand and declare that access to water is and should be considered a human right, since this is part of the essential guarantees to ensure a dignified and adequate standard of living, particularly because it is one of the the indispensable conditions to ensure the survival of society.
In Latin America there is a growing process of awareness about the essential right to access water, massive mobilizations in Argentina, in Peru, indicate that the peoples make the decision to exercise sovereignty over their water resources.
The struggle for the promotion and defense of Human Rights has been associated with the unique condition of each being, with their dignity, and therefore, from this condition a significant number of freedoms and rights are derived, which as a whole, Their mission is to safeguard the essence of each woman, each man, which places limits, obligations and duties to the State, as well as to the other subjects that live together within a community.
Human rights are the result of humanity's tireless struggle to achieve adequate living conditions, not only individually, but also collectively.
Respect for human rights transcends political and legal systems, strictly speaking, it is a matter of ethics and decency.
Because water is essential for human beings, it is intimately related in terms of access, supply and potability, to the development of life in decent conditions.
The lack of water, the lack of continuous supply for personal and domestic uses, the denial of access for reasons of sex, race, age, social condition or economic factors, its inappropriate uses and its unhealthy, are each and every one of them, factors that directly threaten the lives of people and populations.
Water must be guaranteed in all its aspects, its denial due to action or omission or lack of actions of the State, objectively threatens human beings, without any distinction.
Regarding all of the above, water cannot be considered a simple compound, nor can it be considered an important element in the elaboration of strategies, nor can it be considered as a renewable natural resource, nor as a commercial good, a commodity or a good economic.
In Chile, the water code that was formulated during the dictatorship in 1981, and absolutely in force today, considers water as a social good, but also as an economic good, separates the ownership of water from the domain of land, and it transfers the prerogative to the State that it is this, who grants the rights to use water to private parties, free of charge and in perpetuity, giving rise to the water market, in the same way, the water code created two categories of rights of water use, consumptive and non-consumptive, and the difference between both categories of rights lies in the obligation to return or not return a flow to the river, today 90% of the rights to use consumptive waters (they do not return a flow to the river) is in the hands of mining and agro-export companies, and in the case of non-consumptive water use rights (they return a flow to the river), practically 100% of these rights These are in the hands of transnational companies such as ENDESA.
Special mention is what happens with the provision of drinking water to the population, in Latin America, and during the 90s, neoliberal governments led at the time by Fujimori in Peru, Sánchez de Losada in Bolivia or Carlos Menem in Argentina, they began the privatization of the sanitation companies, an initiative that in Chile had its counterpart during the government of Frei Ruiz Tagle, a concertationist who initiated the privatization of drinking water. Today this process is practically concluded, since the Alliance government, in less than two years, has finished selling the public participation in the water companies Aguas Andinas, Essval, Essbio and Essal.
The private mining, agricultural, electrical initiatives, or the profit motive of the sanitation companies, are not conditioned with the human need to access water, the political constitution of the Republic of Chile establishes the private nature of the waters, and as such , the State of Chile does not safeguard the common good, on the contrary, it leaves the enormous conflicts that are experienced in the various hydrographic basins of the country free to the market, an example of this is what happens in the backyard of the V region, specifically in the Province of Petorca.
La Ligua, Cabildo and Petorca, are today the kingdom of Machiavello, because in these communes the principle "The end justifies the means" is applied, that is, water at any price to increase the capital gain of agricultural and mining entrepreneurs, to the detriment of the population's access to drinking water.
Drains and wells without legally constituted water deplete the underground waters, hills planted to infinity with avocados for export, overexploited basins, indolent and incapable institutions, pressures, threats, punishments, politicians and businessmen colluded to usurp water, carrots and clubs, carrots to those who turn a blind eye to the theft of water, a stick for those who fight to restore the rule of law in the rivers of the Petorca province, a stick for those who fight for an essential and essential human right for people, WATER , Nothing more, but nothing less.
Chile is the only country in the world that has its waters privatized, the validity of the water code is fiercely unequal, just as fierce is the defense made of private property over water, politicians transformed into apostles of the private cause of the authorities that call to take care of water, bomb clouds or build water roads, avoiding the underlying problem, in Chile it profits from a national asset that should be of use and public domain, undermining the human rights of Chileans and Chileans, the facts speak louder than a thousand words.
Rodrigo Mundaca - Agricultural Engineer - Secretary MODATIMA.