PGA Conference In Cochabamba, A Personal Account
3rd PGA Conference In Cochabamba, A Personal Account
Short personal account of the 3rd PGA Conference in Cochabamba
Knowing that it will take a little while for the many things decided in Cochabamba to be put in form, on the web page, etc. (many people are still traveling on the caravan to Colombia), I propose a personal and provisional synthesis.
The conference was a great step forward for PGA in several ways, despite the very difficult conditions created by the events in New York. A large number of people of course arrived late (some not at all) and this quite disorganised the first days. However, this reunion of amazing movements and people had a common purpose and a great common will to go forward. The dynamic of the meeting became more and more intense as things got organised and as mutual understanding and confidence developed. The last day of the conference, an incredible number of agreements were reached in a marathon of meetings in which working together seemed to be more and more efficient and agreable. At 2 AM Monday morning ( !), we finished the agenda in high spirits, topping it off with " chicha " (a traditional indigenous beer made from fermented corn) and a collective dance ! On a human level, this was perhaps the warmest PGA meeting yet : what are now old friends from across the world meeting again, and the pleasure of seeing that dozens of new ones feel immediately at home - simply because so many grassroots movements seem to share our practices and dreams.
The airline chaos stopped all United States participants except one from coming and caused many others to arrive late. Worse, the new repressive world order that the USA plans to justify by the attack in NY was immediately evident. Already, there had been some police pressure on people organising the conference, but after the attack, the Bolivian government practically sealed the border for PGA. Delegates with valid visas were turned back or detained (sometimes for days !) at the frontier, the immigration authorities stating that " visas for PGA people are no longer valid ". Several persons who had already passed the frontier were rounded up in a police sweep of the airport and threatened with expulsion. The bus from Colombia, with delegates of Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and several other countries was stopped at the frontier. The arrival of nearly all the asian delegation was retarded for days. When finally forced (by political pressure) to grant visas, immigration demanded prohibitive prices for a " business " visa. Meanwhile, the governor of the province declared to the press that the PGA delegates were all " potential terrorists " and had organised the riots in Europe and North america. The US ambassador actually publicly threatened Evo Morales, the leader of the host organisation (the Cinco Federaciones del Tropico de Cochabamba, Bolivia's most powerful farmer's movement) for having dared to condemn together the terrorist attack and the state terrorism practised by the USA in Iraq, Colombia, etc. The first day of the conference was a little tense
Fortunately, political pressure from our hosts and from the bolivian human rights organisations finally had its effect. In the end, about 170 foreign delegates made it, but 25 (essentially from the caravan on the border) were excluded. They improvised their own discussion table with the local Peruvian farmer's movement, while awaiting the caravan that is now returning from Bolivia to Colombia, via Peru and Ecuador.
With the Bolivian participants, the conference thus brought together about 230-250 people from (from what I can remember) Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, USA, Canada, Spain, Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, South Africa, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Papoua New Guinea, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Australia.
From Canada there were representatives of the CLAC (Comit de Lutte Anti-Capitaliste), PGA convenors for North America and organisers of the highly successful direct action against the Quebec summit of the Americas, and a delegate of CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees), the largest and one of the most progressive unions.
From India, there were representatives of NAPM (National Alliance of People's Movements) and of BKU (the national farmers' federation), who brought with them news from a movement that is more and more powerful and unified (apparently thanks in part to the dynamic initiated by the InterContinental Caravan). The movements take turns organising huge demonstrations once a month, with as many as 50,000 people arrested at a time in non-violent direct action. Prof. Nanjundaswamy could not come, as the KRSS was organising a rally of 500,000 people for the 2nd of October. The whole indian farmers federation has already served notice to the government that they must distribute the 20 million tons of grain in their stocks by the 5th of November or the farmers will do it themselves for the opening of the WTO summit in Qatar !
Among the new arrivals, there were three representatives of the huge Indonesian farmers federation, a representative of the Nepal farmers federation and four enthusiastic and inspiring delegates from the new popular movements of South Africa (landless peasants, Forum Against Privatisation, urban struggles against evictions and service cut-offs). (Unfortunately, the other african delegates failed to get visas.)
From Latin America, there were representatives of some of the most powerful movements : the Cinco Federaciones, the ecuadorean peasants (CONFEUNASC) and indigenous (CONAI), the Zapatistas of Chiapas, the MST of Brazil. From Colombia there were representatives of the two peasant federations, the afro-colombians (PCN), the national indigenous organisation (ONIC) and the national women's movement. There were also representatives of various indigenous peoples : of Guatemala, the Kuna of Panama, the Mapuche (Chile-Argentina), the Meskitos of Nicaragua and of course a strong presence of the Aymara and Quechua of the Andean region. There was also a good number of delegates from Argentina and Brazil, who (like the delegates in the bus from Colombia) traveled up to six days each way to get there.
Many of the Brazilians and Argentinians were from a new network of young mostly urban organisations that had specifically organised for the Global Days of Action of May 1, for Prague or against ALCA. Their presence highlighted the echo that the new anti-globalisation movement in the North has had in the South. In the beginning of PGA, southern struggles (in particular civil disobedience from India) inspired the northern activists. Now, the circulation of forms of struggle is also bringing ideas from north to south. Groups are linking up in horizontal networks to take action together. Indymedia sites exist in Brazil and Argentina, and delegates from Bolivia, Ecuador and other countries were asking for help to set up their own.
The presence of delegates from northern groups like Reclaim the Streets, Ya Basta from Italy, CLAC of Canada, MRG of Catalonia, the swiss Anti-WTO coordination - groups which were responsible for the victories of direct action in London, Prague, Genoa, Quebec, Barcelona and Davos - of Swedes who had organised for Goteborg or Australians from anti-WEF demos in Melbourne, also marked the incredible advances made by the movement in the North since the last PGA Conference. These young movements can hardly be compared to the massive southern organisations, but they have earned their place in the discussion. Everyone at last understands that northern groups have their own struggles and perspectives and do not exist only in solidarity with southern struggles.
Turning to the actual content of the conference :
- A call for Global Days of Action was of course issued against the next WTO minsterial summit in Qatar (November 8-12th), including proposals to block the departure of trade ministers in each country, to block stock exchanges and financial centers and to use popular consultations or other means to mobilise the huge majorities that sympathise with our action. (see call below)
- A call was also issued to mobilise the Americas against the next meeting of the Free Trade of the Americas Accords (FTAA) in Ecuador next March and the simultaneous meeting of the Interamerican Bank in Brazil.
- The Global Sustained Campaign against militarism, paramilitarism and state terrorism, already launched with respect to " Plan Colombia " (tours of Europe and North America, demonstrations, etc., have been going on since the end of 2000) will be continued and enlarged, not only to the whole Andean region, but also to the general problem of repressive violence that social movements the world over have to face - and more than ever after the events of New York and Washington.
- Two other proposed Global Sustained Campaigns, one on water and the other on land, were finally brought together under one larger heading of " Territory and Sovereignty ". This was largely due to the input of the indigenous delegates who pointed out that such themes were much richer if taken together. The questions are not only those of land reform versus expropriation by the multinationals, or of privatisation of water. The larger question is that of the right of communities to freely organise their societies, livelihoods and relation to nature. This can include options that stem from their particular cosmovision, for example.
This campaign can thus include opposition to all kinds of privatisations of public services - or much more generally of global or local " commons ". In particular reference was made to climate change and the rejection of carbon trading and other market based " solutions " which are de facto a privatisation of the right to clean air.
A particularly rich round table concerned the struggles around water, with the exemplary struggle of the people of Cochabamba, who rose up last year and threw the US multinational Bechtel (which had taken possession of the city's water supply) out of the country, at the same time blocking the general privatisation of all water (including agricultural uses !) being pushed by the World Bank. (Their beautiful, inspired texts are in appendix 4). Similar struggles are going on in Canada, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Spain, etc. A coordination of these resistances can be an important task for PGA.
And of course, huge extents of land are being taken over - directly or by " subcontracting " agroindustrial enterprises to locals - by multinationals world over : Brasil, Colombia, Mexico, Africa, Asia, in particular with coercion from the IMF/WB and treaties such as NAFTA which makes the privatisation of traditional communal lands of the indigenous and of the black communities of Africa a condition for financial " aid ". (To some it seems that a huge speculative bubble is happening in agriculture. This could be compared to the urban land speculative bubble of the early '90ties. But of course if it deprives hundreds of millions of small farmers of their subsistence it will have incomparably more serious consequences.) Here too, sharing experiences (for example those of the landless of Bangladesh, Brazil, India and South Africa) and coordinating struggles could be decisive.
- A third Global Sustained Campaign of a different type was proposed for the construction of grassroots alternatives to the capitalist system and included popular education campaigns and popular consultations (" Consulta ") among the tools envisaged. (A consultation was in particular proposed at least in the European region by the MRG of Catalonia.)
- Other round tables and working groups developed their own projects. Among them the strong indigenous group, which decided to organise a specific latin american indigenous meeting next year.
The conference also took important decisions concerning PGA's organisational principles, its political hallmarks and the manifesto.
- Hallmark 1 was modified to read :
"A very clear rejection of feudalism, capitalism and imprialism; all trade agreements, institutions and governments that promote destructive globalisation."
"Un rechazo muy claro del feudalismo, del capitalismo y del imperialismo; todos acuerdos comerciales, instituciones y gobiernos que promueven una globalizacion destructiva."
In the Bangalore Conference the opposition to " free " trade had already been extended to capitalism in general, but the change was made in the " goals " of PGA, less often cited than the principles. At the same time, the Nepalese and Indian delegates asked that feudalism should be added as it remains the immediate form of domination for many in that area.
- The hallmark number 4 was modified to read :
"A call to direct action and civil disobedience, support for social movements' struggles, advocating forms of resistance which maximize respect for life and oppressed peoples' rights, as well as the construction of local alternatives to global capitalism."
"Un llamado a la accion directa y a la desobediencia civil, al apoyo a las luchas de los movimientos sociales, proponiendo formas de resistencia que maximizen el respeto a la vida y a los derechos de los pueblos oprimidos, asi como a la construccion de alternativas locales al capitalismo global."
This change removes the word " non-violent " from the principle. This was considered a change of verbal form more than of political substance. The problem with the old formulation was first that the word " Non-violence " has very different meanings in India (where it means respect for life) and in the West (where it means also respect for private property). This basic misunderstanding has proved quite impossible to correct in media - or indeed in the movement itself. The north american movement felt that the term could be understood to not allow for a diversity of tactics or even contribute to the criminalisation of part of the movement. The latin american organisations had also objected to the term in their regional conference, saying that a " call to civil disobedience " was clear enough, whereas " non-violence " seemed to imply a rejection of huge parts of the history of resistance of these peoples and was as such badly taken by large parts of the movement.
This point of view was particularly put forward by the movements of Ecuador and Bolivia, who at the same time have actually been practicing civil disobedience by the hundreds of thousands these last years, although they may throw some rocks when the army kills with bullets (as it regularly does).
In fact, there was always an understanding in PGA that non-violence has to be understood as a guiding principle or ideal which must always be understood relative to the particular political and cultural situation. Actions which are perfectly legitimate in one context can be unnecessarily violent (contributing to brutalise social relations) in another. And vice versa. Precisely to make this clear, the zapatista army (EZLN) was invited to be among the first generation of convenors. The wording finally found seemed to respect this fundamental stance, since it explicitly advocates MAXIMISING respect for life.
- The PGA manifesto was extensively reworked by a working group that sat for a large part of the conference to incorporate a gender perspective throughout. (Consult the web page www.agp.org in a little while for all the changes, too many to include here.) The gender group also worked out the declaration below (see Appendix 3).
- The manifesto was also modified to include a paragraph relating to climate change. The section on the environment now refers not only to the effects of WTO, WB, etc., but also says : " The global commons is being appropriated....this now includes the atmosphere. Climate change is a result of capitalist resource exploitation. It reinforces existing global inequalities initiated by colonialism. As the climate warms, essential resources with further become the privilege of the elite, who will use increasingly militarised force to acquire them. Also, the very problem of climate change is being seen as a profit making opportunity. Market based solutions include carbon trading) in which governments and TNCs buy and sell their rights to pollute, and carbon sinks appropriated forest areas or GM plantations which theoretically absorb carbon pollution) to avoid reducing their own emissions. "
The organisational principles of PGA were also extensively modified to bring the theory into line with actual practice and experience. It was generally admitted that three successive convenors committees had not been able to assume many of their tasks, lacking either the necessary means, time or information to do so. At the same time, PGA has been scoring amazing successes due to a much more decentralised, spontaneous form of organisation. Solutions must therefor be looked for in that direction.
- The choice of convenors and the convening method will be left to regions to decide in their continental meetings : one convenor or more, collective convenorship (Eurasian proposal), sub-regional assemblies (North American option), etc. The only imperative is to have a contact point for circulating information, practical work, decisions, etc., from one continent to the rest.
- Adapting to the actual practice (Indymedia, for instance, being the way by which in fact infos about Global Days of Action circulate), information will be open, decentralised and have no " official " PGA stamp. The web page will be restructured in a series of open " Indymedia-type " pages for information or discussion of different campaigns and themes. Bulletins will be printed (using this information or others) by participants in the network on their own responsibility.
- Of conferences and caravans. There was generally agreement that anti-globalisation actions should be more grounded in local struggles. First, in order to continue to widen the mobilisations and make the link with the day to day struggles that are the real resistance to capital. Second, to avoid the isolation and criminalisation that threatens after Genoa and New York.
But localising means risking losing unity and general perspective unless we can better analyse and communicate the common aspects of our different struggles. And PGA has been as bad at stimulating debate and communication as it has been brilliant in inspiring action across the globe. So how can we make sure this happens, and that the next conference is preceded by a real debate on strategies, alternatives, etc. ? Or, in the worst case, how to assure that PGA can continue to grow even if repression (visa difficulties, etc.) and the drying up of institutional funding for anti-globalisation movements (aggressively organised now by the multinationals) make future conferences impossible - or much smaller ?
Several ideas were approved :
The first was to not necessarily have the next conference in two years (that is before the next WTO summit), although a conference within two to three years seemed necessary.
Debate and communication in the whole network could be stimulated by a new variant of the " caravan " formula. The idea would be to have for example one participant from each continent in a small group that would tour one continent or region with a mandate to investigate and debate on certain clearly defined subjects. The results of these exchanges would be regularly broadcast to the whole network via email lists, webpages, etc., as the caravan advanced. This contact at the grassroots would also be a much more effective way of getting to know movements and making known PGA, thus preparing a richer convening process.
This formula implies taking MUCH more time, say a minimum of two or three months, with at least several days in each place, to be able to discuss in depth, take time to write up results, etc. This in turn implies that it could not involve movement leaders but people less centrally involved or younger people who can take the time to fill this role of " movement reporters ". It could be much more efficient, less costly and easier to organise than conferences or regional meetings. Smaller conferences could possibly be just as effective and representative if the delegates could thus come having already debated the questions at home.
Other ideas included finding more volonteers for the support group (particularly in the South), including some with a precise committment to communication and debate facilitation. Making sure that convenors and other southern partners have real access to email (not just an expensive hotmail account in a caf).
- On the next to last day, the whole conference boarded four buses to make the incredible descent (more than 3000 meters in a few hours !) from Cochabamba to the Chapar region, stronghold of the cocaleros of the Cinco Federaciones del Tropico. A demonstration organised to welcome us (and to protest against the yanqui army base) gathered 20,000 peasants from all over the region in an impressive show of strength. Men, women and children of all ages, gathered under dozens of the rainbow colored huipil banners, responded with enthusiasm to speaches from spokespersons of the asians, africans, maoris, europeans, north americans and divers latin american countries and peoples. There own slogans and banners (" El pueblo unido, lucha sin partido ! ", " El pueblo unido vive sin estado ! ") showed that PGA had found appropriate partners there. A strong and moving response to the post-NY media hysteria.
- And the next conference ? We will have to choose. PGA is invited to Russia and South Africa !
Well, I guess this wasn't finally so short, but there would still be so much to tell. What is impossible to communicate is the richness and warmth of an international meeting of popular, grassroots organisations. In this space so many very different human beings and cultures can so quickly find so much in common, sharing enemies, but also so many visions, hopes, questions and practices.
Amandla ! ! Power to the people !
The PGA call to action against the WTO summit in Qatar
Peoples Global Action calls on all grassroots social movements, community based organisations, trade unions, student organisations, indigenous peoples, farmers organisations, autonomous collectives and everyone who wishes to participate around the world to carry out actions against the World Trade Organisation (WTO) during the next ministerial summit in Doha, Qatar, November 9th-13th, 2001.
The WTOs aim is very simple: to remove anything that gets in the way of big business and free trade, upholding the freedom for multinational companies to act as they please. Made up of 135 member countries, the WTO polices international trade rules and continues to set an agenda that places profit above people and the planet.
Faced with a rapidly expanding grassroots resistance to capitalist globalisation, the WTO has fled to an isolated desert dictatorship for its next meeting. Already built into the agenda are three immensely destructive trade agreements: the Agreement on Agriculture (AOA), the General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS) and the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Between them, they cover issues like: the privatisation of health, education and water, forcing GMO foods and seeds on member countries and patents on life forms.
THEY CAN RUN BUT THEY CAN`T HIDE: WE ARE EVERYWHERE!
RESIST THE WTO THROUGHOUT THE WORLD THROUGH DIRECT ACTION AND CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE WHEREVER COMMUNITIES ARE DESTROYED AND ECOSYSTEMS SACRIFICED FOR THE SAKE OF FREE TRADE!
Regardless of whether the WTO meeting is maintained or not, we will be in the streets, because the streets are ours. Grassroots organisations all over the world are organising the following kinds of actions and call on others to do the same:
1) Awareness-raising campaigns against WTO and the effect of their policies on a global and local level: community based consultations, counter-meetings, public debates, publications. 2) Maximum disruption of the work of the trade ministers attending the conference: demands for the publication of national positions, blocking of communications or of departures of delegations, etc. 3) Mass coordinated actions on a national and international level: work stoppages, road blocks, occupation of stock exchanges and other financial institutions (New York, San Francisco, Sao Paolo...), liberation of grain stocks (India) on Nov. 9th. 4) Decentralised local action: land occupations, creative demonstrations of grassroots alternatives... Nov. 9th-13th.
Appendix 2 :
Declaracin de Cochabamba
Un da de septiembre del ao 2001, solsticio de primavera en el territorio continental de Abya Yala (Latinoamerica), mujeres y hombres de varias culturas reunidos en Cochabamba nos dirigimos a los pueblos del mundo. En estos das de incertidumbre y calma tensa, de anuncios de guerra y caza de brujas, queremos hablarles de la esperanza y el afecto, del miedo y el dolor.
Hemos visto el horror y la desesperacin en los rostros de gente comn afectada por azar en los ataques de Nueva York y Washington. Conocemos este dolor, tenemos la memoria y la experiencia cotidiana del terror y la violencia innecesarias.
Minuto tras minuto, hora tras hora, da tras da, millones de vctimas inocentes y annimas reflejan la misma mirada de horror al sufrir en su propia piel la violencia irracional en medio del silencio y la indiferencia.
Desde los albores de la humanidad, la lucha por el poder y el dominio de unos pocos ha sumido a los pueblos en batallas sangrientas y crueles. Nos duele ver que no han aprendido a vivir en paz, justicia y respeto mutuo, y siguen regando la tierra de sangre inocente.
La memoria histrica de nuestros pueblos sometidos nos ayuda a comprender la magnitud del dolor, el horror y la angustia que invade a las familias de las vctimas inocentes, por lo que les expresamos nuestra ms profunda solidaridad.
Tenemos la esperanza de que la experiencia del horror vividos por nuestros hermanos norteamericanos les ayude a comprender lo cruel y absurdo del abuso de poder militar y a cultivar su solidaridad frente a todo tipo de atropellos a la poblacin civil.
Es por ello que condenamos crmenes tales como los bombardeos anunciados por el gobierno de los EE.UU. y sus aliados a la poblacin civil. Estas reacciones apresuradas slo alimentan el odio, la violencia y el terror, acelerando la destruccin sistemtica del planeta.
Nuestra filosofa est opuesta al militarismo y la dominacin. Amamos la libertad y el equilibrio entre los pueblos hermanos, la fuerza vital de nuestra lucha es defender la vida, por lo que nos opondremos a travs de acciones globales a la guerra absurda anunciada por los Estados Unidos.
Cochabamba, 23 de Septiembre de 2001
Appendix 3 :
Declaracin de las y los participantes a la Conferencia de la Accin Global de los Pueblos, reunid@s el lunes 17 de septiembre del ao 2001.
Nosotras y nosotros declaramos que la Accin Global de los pueblos es un movimiento, que esta trasvasado por la perspectiva de gnero por lo tanto dentro de nuestras lneas de accin estn incluidas las reivindicaciones de las mujeres, reivindicaciones que hablan de la discriminacin de gnero, clase y etnia, por que discriminacin es un fenmeno social ligado al poder, que permea la cultura, la economa, la poltica. El poder representando fuertemente por la economa de globalizacin ha empobrecido a las mujeres que han tenido que asumir la doble y triple jornada, por esto se habla de la feminizacin de la pobreza, en todos los espacios incluso en los espacios institucionales como son la ONU, OMS, OIT. En el sector laboral las mujeres no somos tratadas con equidad, no tenemos el mismo salario, aunque tengamos un cargo igual al de un hombre, en los despidos masivos somos las primeras afectadas, tenemos que soportar acoso sexual y hasta el abuso o violacin sexual de los jefes y compaeros para conservar el puesto. En nuestros espacios de organizacin, las mujeres tambin sufrimos de discriminacin, ya que esta se form desde nuestras concepciones culturales que la han hecho tan cotidiana, pensndose que es natural, hostigar, maltratar, desconocer, someter y cualquier tipo de discriminacin. Desde los compaeros y hasta las compaeras que no se escapan a esta concepcin cultural del machismo como una forma de dominacin, y se disfraza de machismo sutil, cuando uno es el discurso que se da y otras son las prcticas. Por lo tanto se requiere politizar la lucha de sexos en el marco de la confrontacin al capital por que es intil convertirla en confrontaciones personales que lo que crean son roces, que hacen que se nos considere a las mujeres que defendemos nuestros derechos humanos, y de humanas, como indeseables. Por esto declaramos que lo privado es pblico, y lo personal poltico. Por que lo otro nos lleva a romper nexos con nuestras familias y grupos de trabajo el cual nos aleja del resto de la poblacin que esta en la lucha y el silencio nos ha socavado la dignidad y el autoestima.
En la Accin Global de los Pueblos reivindicamos dentro y fuera la lucha de las mujeres como parte integral de la lucha popular, estamos reclamando la construccin de una sociedad justa, para todos mujeres y hombres, porque al ganar las mujeres gana la sociedad. Por lo tanto creemos que debemos empezar al interior de la AGP en el logro de desterrar cualquier tipo de hostigamiento sexual y discriminacin hacia las mujeres, dando los primeros pasos en la construccin de la equidad, que decimos reivindicar en la AGP. Las mujeres y los hombres estamos juntos en esta lucha, que nos crea un compromiso, personal, como organizacin y en las acciones conjuntas de la AGP.
Seguras y seguros que saldremos como el sol ha conquistar un nuevo amanecer para todas y todos.
Cochabamba Bolivia a 19 de septiembre de 2001
Texts of the Coordinadora del Agua of Cochabamba
(Texts of the "Water Coordination" which came together last year to resist the privatisation of all water in Bolivia, and in particular the city water of Cochabamba, imposed by the World Bank and obsequiously organised by the Bolivian government.
After days of street blockades involving practically the whole population and street battles (in which the police were firing live ammunition), the US multinational Baechtel was thrown out of the country, parliament was obliged to revoke the privatisation law. In Cochabamba the "coordinadora" is now self managing the water of the city. First result, the water company is for the first time making a tidy profit, while charging a tiny fraction of the rates that Baechtel wanted!)
"We have been the object of a great robbery, we are owners of nothing. Therefore, we, bus and taxi drivers, workers and neighbors together, sign this agreement and public statement in order to defend ourselves, in order to no longer permit this drunken spending spree of luxuries - of the good life for some, and suffering and privation for almost everyone else.
Because behind the deceitful government "dialogue", they impose upon us The workers and the community listen, respectfully pay attention, and suffer.
We unite because we are fed up with the simulation of democracy which only renders us obedient and impotent, and turns us into obliged voters and tax payers for the benefit of the rich; because it is urgent to begin to take action together each sector does not have sufficient strength to resist alone_ There is no individual salvation, we will improve everyone's well being or no one's. Communication of the Coordinadora, December 1999
Hemos sido sujetos de un gran robo, ya somos dueos de nada. Por eso los transportistas, trabajadores y vecinos firmamos este acuerdo y comunicado conjunto para defendernos unos a otros, para no permitir ms esta borrachera neoliberal de gastos, lujos, buena vida para unos y sufrimiento y carencia para casi todos.
Porque tras el falaz "dialoguismo" gubernamental se nos impone una y otra vez la misma pelcula: el poderoso habla, dice, promete, impone y goza los trabajadores y el pueblo escuchamos, acatamos y sufrimos.
Nos unimos porque estamos hartos de la simulacin de la democracia que lo nico que hace es convertirnos en obedientes impotentes, en votadores obligados y en pagadores de tarifazos de impuestos para los gustos de los ricos. Porque es urgente comenzar a desplegar acciones conjuntas cada sector no tiene la fuerza suficiente para resistir por separado No hay salvacin individual, o conseguimos mayor bienestar para todos o no se consigue para nadie. Comunicado de la Coordinadora, diciembre de 1999
The Bolivian government would rather respond to the directives of the World Bank than take into account what the people themselves consider to be their needs. The heart of the problem is this: who decides about the present and the future of the people, resources, work and living conditions. We, with respect to water, want to decide for ourselves: this is what we call democracy. Communication of the Coordinadora, January 28, 2000
El gobierno de Bolivia prefiere ajustarse a lo dicho por el Banco Mundial en vez de tomar en cuenta lo que la poblacin considera conveniente para s misma. Este es el problema de fondo: quin decide sobre el presente y sobre el destino de la poblacin, los recursos, el trabajo, las condiciones de vida.
Nosotros, en relacin al agua, queremos decidir por nosotros mismos: a eso le llamamos democracia. Comunicado de la Coordinadora, 28 de enero de 2000
The other great success of this movement is that we have lost our fear. We left our houses and communities in order to talk amongst ourselves, in order to get to know one another, in order to learn to trust one another again. We occupied the streets and highways because we are their true owners. We did it counting only on ourselves. No one paid us, no one sent us orders or fined us. For us, urban and rural workers, this is the true meaning of democracy: we decide and do, discuss and carry out. We risked our lives in order to complete what we proposed, that which we consider just. Democracy is sovereignty of the people and that is what we have achieved. Communication of the Coordinadora. Sunday, February 6, 2000
El otro gran logro de esta movilizacin es que perdimos el miedo. Salimos de nuestras casas y comunidades para hablar entre nosotros, para conocernos, para aprender nuevamente a confiar unos en otros. Ocupamos las calles y los caminos porque somos los verdaderos dueos. Lo hicimos en base a nuestra propia fuerza. Nadie nos pag, nadie nos dio ficha ni nos mult. Para nosotros, poblacin trabajadora de la ciudad y del campo, este es el autntico significado de la democracia: decidimos y hacemos, discutimos y ejecutamos. Arriesgamos la vida para cumplir lo que nos proponemos, lo que consideramos justo. Democracia es soberana del pueblo y eso es lo que hemos hecho. Comunicado de la Coordinadora, domingo 6 de febrero de 2000
The cost of the repression: A six month supply of tear gas was used, 3,840 tear gas grenades, on the first day of the repression. Each grenade costs between $5 and $10. It can be deduced that on Friday, $28,800 was spent on tear gas grenades alone.
The second day of the repression, fewer tear gas grenades were used because their reserves had been depleted. It can be presumed that 5,600 grenades were used over the two days of conflict, at a cost of approximately $42,000. 480 police officers arrived from La Paz, each having received $7 per day for food and other needs. From this, it can be calculated that the government spent $15,480 over five days. It cannot be confirmed but it is supposed that each police officer who participated in the repression received a bonus of $35. The government also incurred costs for a small plane and for the leaflets which were distributed by this means during the first days of the conflict.
Los Tiempos, Tuesday, February 8, 2000
El costo de la represin: en un da uso el stock de seis meses. El primer da de la represin se gast la dotacin de granadas de gas de Cochabamba para seis meses.
El primer da se utilizaron 3.840 granadas de gas. Cada granada de gas lacrimgeno cuesta entre 5 y 20 dlares. Se deduce que el da viernes, solo en granadas de gas se gast 28.800 dlares sin tomar en cuenta las granadas de mano.
El segundo da de represin se gast menos granadas de gas porque sus reservas haban disminuido. Se presume que 5.600 granadas fueron gastadas en los das de conflicto, siendo su precio aproximadamente 42.000 dlares.
Los policas que llegaron de La Paz fueron 480, cada polica recibi 7 dlares de vitico por da. Se calcula que el gobierno invirti 15.480 dlares en 5 das. No se pudo confirmar pero se supo de un bono de 35 dlares que recibi cada polica que particip durante el conflicto. El gobierno tambin gast en una avioneta y la impresin de volantes que fueron repartidos por este medio durante los das del conflicto.
Fuente, los tiempos, martes 8 de febrero del 2000
After 15 years of neoliberalism, when we all believed that the model had snatched away the most important human values, such as solidarity, brotherhood, trust in one self and one another; when we believed that we were incapable of losing our fear, of having the capacity to organize ourselves and unite; when they had imposed upon us with all their strength a culture of obedience, of following orders; when we no longer believed in the possibility of being able to offer our lives and die for our hopes and dreams, to be heard, to make our words be taken into account; our humble, simple and industrious working people, composed of men and women, children and seniors, showed the country and the world that it is still possible.
Communication of the Coordinadora, April 2000
Despus de 15 aos de neoliberalismo, luego de que creamos todos que el modelo nos haba arrebatado los valores ms importantes de los seres humanos, como son la solidaridad, la fraternidad, la confianza en uno mismo y en los dems; cuando creamos que ya eramos incapaces de perder el miedo, de tener la capacidad de organizarnos y de unirnos; cuando nos han ido imponiendo con mayor fuerza la cultura a obedecer, a ser mandados; cuando ya no creamos en la posibilidad de ser capaces de ofrecer nuestras vidas y morir por nuestros sueos y esperanzas, por ser escuchados, por hacer posible que nuestra palabra sea tomada en cuenta,, nuestro humilde, sencillo y laborioso pueblo trabajador, compuesto por hombres y mujeres, nios y ancianos, demuestra al pas y al mundo que esto an es posible.
Comunicado de la Coordinadora, abril del 2000
There is a sort or rebirth of people's capacity to believe. People want to have faith in themselves again something that neoliberalism had taken from us. Before, we had to believe in the "expert", in the sort that barely speaks Spanish, who speaks English instead, in the sort that comes from Harvard.
A. Garcia in Pulso, May 2000
Hay una especie de retorno de la gente a la capacidad de creer. Hay una bsqueda de volver a creer en nosotros mismos, algo que nos quit el neoliberalismo. Antes haba que creer en el "enternado" , en el tipo que dificilmente hablaba el castellano y hablaba mejor el ingles, en el tipo que vena de Harvard.
A. Garcia en Pulso, mayo del 2000
What can we do when they charge us so much for water that does not even reach our houses? We had to fight in whatever way we could. Of course, what we have seen is that we are fighting between brothers, but they have not left us any other option.
Neighbor quoted in Opinion, Friday, February 7, 2000
Qu podamos hacer si nos cobraban tanto del agua cuando ni llega a nuestras casas? Haba, necesariamente, que luchar como sea. Claro, lo que hemos visto es que nos peleamos entre hermanos, pero no nos han dejado otro camino.
Vecino en Opinion, viernes 7 de febrero del 2000
Men and women of Cochabamba, rights cannot be begged for, they must be fought for. No one is going to fight for ours. We will fight together for what is just or we will tolerate the humiliation of bad government.
Declaration to Cochabamba from the Coordinadora, Monday, January 10, 2000
Cochabambino, cochabambina, Los derechos no se mendigan. Los derechos se conquistan. Nadie va a luchar por lo nuestro. O luchamos juntos por lo justo o toleramos la humillacin de los malos gobernantes.
Manifiesto a Cochabamba de la Coordinadora, lunes 10 de enero del 2000
They want to make us believe that the privatization of water is going to save us, that it is a lifesaver. As if we don't have experience with privatization? Privatization is total chaos, privatization has failed in Bolivia. Now we see that the corporations, the corrupt and the politicians work together against the people.
A neighbor on the radio, Saturday, February 5, 2000
Nos quieren hacer creer que la privatizacin del agua nos va a salvar, que es un salvavidas, por favor seores!, acaso no tenemos la experiencia de la privatizacin? La Privatizacin es un caos total, la privatizacin ha fracasado en Bolivia. Ahora vemos que los empresarios, los corruptos y los polticos trabajan juntos contra el pueblo.
Vecino por la radio, sabado 5 de febrero del 2000
We aren't going to forget what they have done to us.
Citizen cited in Pulso, February 11, 2000
Nosotros no nos vamos a olvidar lo que nos han hecho.
Ciudadano citado en Pulso, febrero 11 del 2000
After having been passive, almost accomplices, in the selling off of 60% of our economy, we have finally reacted. What we have done means that we have redeemed our honor, in order to construct a common home with our own ideas and our own hands
Editorial in Opinion, Saturday, April 8, 2000
Despus de haber observado inermes, casi complices, la enajenacin del 60 % de nuestra economa, por fin hemos reaccionado. Lo que hemos hecho significa haber rescatado nuestro honor para construir un hogar comn con nuestras propias ideas y nuestras propias manos
Editorial de Opinion, sabado 8 de abril del 2000
We are enlarging our blockade. We are entire families. Perhaps the government thinks that with each passing day we are getting tired, but it is mistaken. With each day that passes, the people lose more patience and when the people lose patience [the situation] is much more dangerous. The government is mistaken if it thinks that it is making us tired, we have more enthusiasm and more people. A Neighbor in Quillacollo on the radio, April 2000
If there isn't an agreement that benefits the 27,000 retired people in Cochabamba after the robbery committed by Aguas del Tunari, we reserve the right to seize all the installations of this mafiosa company that steals from the poor. Declaration of the Federation of Retired Workers of Cochabamba, February 2000
We have won. We came to the plaza and here we are. We said "no" to the new water rates and they have been frozen.
Communication of the Coordinadora, February 2000
Hemos ganado. Vinimos a la plaza y aqu estamos. Dijimos "no" a las nuevas tarifas del agua y han sido congeladas.
Comunicado de la Coordinadora, febrero del 2000
We are defending our water Communities have the right to defend and manage their resources and don't need corporate management. Citizen cited en Nawpaqman, May 2000