Let Them Drink Coke


"..many would be surprised to learn that Central America is soon to become one of our most favored trading partners and a promising source of profits for large trans-national companies looking to collect money from the poor in exchange for water... they will pay for it if they have to because--otherwise they will die...

"..as former peasants have come flooding into cities in flight from the mechanized, industrialized, fertilized, and pesticized export farming promoted by the World Bank, no new infrastructure has been built to accommodate them. The result.. is.. a great huge stinking mess. Epidemics are commonplace, and you would not drink water from a tap there unless you had a death wish...

"Enter the IDB [Inter-American Development Bank, along with the World Bank and IMF], promising to reform the water and sanitation systems--at a cost... on the condition that the newly functional water companies then be sold (or contracted) to interested private operators...

"..the first investments to be made under the IDB water reform loans.. are for the purchase and installation of water meters. First things first...

"..thousands of unionized public sector workers can be expeditiously fired... Their old jobs will be performed by low-wage, short-term contract people and computers...

"In diplomatic circles, the current wisdom is that the wars of this century will be fought over water...

"..it's only a matter of time, once water becomes nothing more than another private commodity, salable as a source of profit for the powerful and ruthless" (Bocagrande, Gabriela. "Let Them Drink Coke." Texas Observer, 10/24/03, 10-11).