March 22 is World Water Day which is a significant event in other parts of the world. In El Salvador in particular, this is a critical time for those who work to protect the water because legislators there are deciding on a constitutional amendment that would define water and food as a human right. Communities in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) is hosting an environmental activist Vidalina Morales who talked about the struggle to have the bill passed.
Last month thousands of Salvadorans were in the streets of the capital San Salvador to demand the right to food and water. The lack of these basic needs has led to an exodus of the people attempting to enter the US including youth who are fleeing gangs and violence. The march of civil society organizations such as the Environmental Alliance ended at the Legislative Assembly in where elected officials were meeting. The marchers called for the ratification of article 69 of the Constitutional Amendment that defines water and food as a human right. The crunch for approval of the article is the April 30th deadline for ratification, a date that was set back in 2012 when the amendment was first approved. All legislators of the left-wing FMLN party have committed to approve the article while members of the right-wing ARENA, PDC, and PCN have blocked the ratification. Critics of the blockage-including the Environmental Alliance say that those parties “defend the economic interests of the few who do business and make money off of water and food over the interests of the majority of citizens who have chosen to defend our rights.”
Vidalina Morales from El Salvador who is in Washington D.C. this week and is speaking on behalf of the people who are defending the right to these basic needs. She joined Alexis Strombelis with the group CISPES in a phone conference yesterday, on World Water Day to talk about the community struggle to have water over multinational corporations who prevent that from happening.
photos: courtesy of CISPES