Saturday, October 6, 2012


It´s raining. Dripping down from the roof top. Water running down the pavement. What a wonderful feeling. Wonderful, wonderful to dress the kids in jacekts before they went off to the movies with their grandparents. Wonderful to just see how that smog cloud is pressed down to the ground. Wonderful that the Andes are getting another injection of snow before the long summer ahead. Wonderful that the trees can finally get the water needed to turn into that beutiful spring green color. And wonderful to even be able to think that this might help som of the water scarcity that this country is supposedly dealing with right now.

Rain gets me to think about water. My topic of the day. Yesterday I was reminded once again of Chilean success story: the neoliberal model. I had somehow managed to forget that Chile privatized its water resources during the 80's. Or correction, I hadn´t really understood what that whole deal meant. This is the deal (according to a biologist that I talked to yesterday): The (military) government auctioned out all water companies and water resources to private actors in the 1980s. Later, when the Spaniards came knocking on the door (end 1990s), money was more valuable than water. So a big portion of the water companies are today owned by Spanish conglomerates. (BTW, I have always been astonished by the amount of Spanish Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America, in utilities, which basically mean secured cash flow with very littly risks. It is somehow completely contradictory with the image of the collapsing Spanish market... wonder where all those profits from these companies go? Apparently not to pay taxes in Spain...)

Anyway, the biologist told me that the water supply in the north (far away from here) has now been purchased by a mining company. Result? The people that live up there have to buy their (bottled) water because in this time of drought there is not enough for both. But mining is apparently more important than secure water supply to the citizens. Someone else told me that it isn't the mining that takes the big chunk of water, it is those large fields of grapes, fruits destined to the supermarkets up in countries like Finland. Anyway, be it mining or grapes, it is not really helping the locals in their water supply. Somehow I feel that something went very wrong with this (neoliberal) model. Very very wrong.

But at least its raining in Santiago. We do not need to pretend that it is raining. It is pooring down!

Hip hooray for rainy days!

No comments: