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Cochabamba!: Water War in Bolivia

by Oscar Olivera Author

Imagine a US corporation telling you that they own your rain water and will sell it back to you...when you don't even live on the same continent! Cochabamba! tells the story of the Water War, the first great victory against corporate globalization in Latin America. Olivera was at the center of the grassroots movement that brought thousands of ordinary working people to the streets of Cochabamba, Bolivia. The spokesperson for the Coordinadora, Olivera conveys the ideas and emotions of a firsthand participant in the triumphant struggle that not only regained control of the water but also kicked out the transnational corporation that had privatized it. Olivera reflects on themes that emerged as a result of the war over water: the fear and isolation that Cochabambinos and Cochabambinas overcame through the spirit of solidarity; the new practices of popular democracy realized during the struggle; the challenges of operating the city's water service in a community-based manner; and the impact of the Water War on subsequent struggles. "Cochabamba! shows us that a world beyond corporate globalization is not just possible, but is actually happening. As the Bolivian people remind us, there is one power stronger than the power of money—and that is the power of the people." —Vandana Shiva, from the introduction