The Privatization of Natural Resources
Source: ResistenciaHonduras.net, 02 March 2011.
by Ana Rivera, Militant of Los Necios.
The approval by the National Congress of 47 contracts for renewable energy production shows that Honduras has for some time begun the process of privatization.
This process was accelerated by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) which proposed the establishment of a Framework Law on Potable Water Service which provides for the possibility of resource concessions to third parties.
The privatization of water resources is for energy or human use introduces a new set of financial requirements that tend to increase water tariffs, leaving out an increasingly large share of the population, which is always the poorest.
The main trend of the world powers and the industrialized countries is the control and monopolization of water sources. The justification is based upon the claim that public services have been unable to meet the basic needs of water for its citizens and therefore have to be passed, concessioned, municipalized, donated or sold to private enterprise.
However, the reality is very different. The cost of water from private companies is L. 160.00 ($8) cubic meter, compared with the cost established by the National Autonomous Service of Aqueducts and Sewerage Service (SANAA), which is L. 5.20. Even with such elevated prices the service is sub-standard.
As Hondurans and citizens of this world we have the right to water and a necessity for live. We also have the right to know of the practices that can help us make better use of the water resource. The government has the responsibility to ensure that this resourced is used for the benefit of the people.
Organizations in the region northwest of the country, who see their natural resources under threat of privatization have stated "It is ethically unacceptable to use the guise of approving concessions of rivers, water sources and other natural resources to promote hydropower when it is done behind the backs of communities and almost all decisions by concealing the true impacts. It is not possible to carry out decisions without consultation of the people. Honduras is a country rich in natural resources, but as Mahatma Gandhi said: "There is enough in the world to meet the needs of all men, but not to satisfy his greed."
Water cannot remain in the hands of the few people who already own many of the lands of our country.