Uruguay


"...Uruguay. In these elections, for the first time in the country's history, the left won. And in the plebiscite, for the first time in world history, the privatization of water was rejected by popular vote, asserting that water is the right of all people...

"Uruguayans were bombarded with extortion, threats, and lies: A vote against privatizing water will condemn you to a future of sewage-filled wells and putrid ponds...

"...common sense triumphed...

"...sooner rather than later, in a thirsty world, the reserves of fresh water will be as, or more, coveted than oil reserves. Countries that are poor, but rich in water, must learn to defend themselves...

"In 1992, Uruguay was the only country in the world to put the privatization of public companies to a popular vote: 72 percent opposed. Wouldn't it be democratic to do the same in every country?...

"...Uruguay instituted free public education before England, women's suffrage before France, the eight-hour workday before the United States, and divorce before Spain" (Eduardo Galeano. "Where People Voted Against Fear." Progressive, January, 2005: 18-19).


Colby Glass, MLIS