Cochabamba – También la Lluvia
November 15, 2011 § 1 Comment
Tonight I attended a screening of the Spanish-language movie También la Lluvia (Even the Rain), which follows a filmmaker and his crew who go to Bolivia to shoot a movie about Christopher Columbus. They arrive just as the 2000 Cochabamba protests are beginning, and soon become intertwined in them as one of their lead actors is also a leader of the protests.
The movie presents some very moving parallels between the plot of the Columbus film and the roles the actors are playing as compared to what is going on with the protests. The main and most emotionally impactful of these is the parallel plights of the Columbus movie’s Taino natives, who are being persecuted by the Spanish and basically being robbed of their wealth; this is devastatingly similar to the conflict between the Quecha-descended inhabitants of Cochabamba (who are serving as the extras playing the Taino) and the multinational corporations who have privatized water and are charging them excessively for it.
Some interesting and accurate facts are able to be taken from this film. While water was privatized, it cost 300% more than it did beforehand. This amounted to about 20 dollars a month, while the average denizen of the city made about 10 dollars a month, before other expenses are even taken into account. The Quecha people were also primed to lash out at the government before the water conflict even happened, however, due to the discrimination they had received throughout history.
Check out this previous post that also talks about water privatization and the Cochabamba protests.
Five quick facts on water privatization:
1. France was the first country to privatize its water supply, starting as early as the 19th century.
2. England is the only country with its entire water system completely privatized.
3. In the United States, small towns in over 20 states have privatized water, though that do have been that way since the town’s founding.
4. Most of the privatized water in the world is controlled by one of three companies: Suez, Thames Water, or Veolia Environment (Vivendi).
5. Bolivia, Argentina, Guinea, and Tanzania once had, but no longer have privatized water.