Robert Kennedy Criticizes Privatization of Water at World Environment Forum
SAO PAULO, June 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Privatization is currently the most troubling issue we face in relation to water. That is the opinion of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an activist and attorney specializing in environmental law who took part in the World Environmental Forum organized by LIDE – Grupo de Lideres Empresariais [Group of Business Leaders], in Foz do Iguacu.
"Water ought to be a right for all human beings," asserts Kennedy. He believes that free market capitalism is the best solution, but it must be managed with a social interest, otherwise future generations will have to pay for our mistakes and excesses. And he insists: "We should encourage a more rational use of water, but we cannot restrict the use of water by the poorest people through pricing."
Kennedy cited the example of Cochabamba, Bolivia, a country where water was privatized in such a way that people were dying from lack of access to it. The revolt was so great that the French and American companies managing the city's water supply were forced to leave the country. Another example occurred during the Pinochet regime in Chile, when the dictator "sold" all of the rivers to the company Endesa. The company was sold to Spanish investors, and now, according to Kennedy, foreign speculators own all of the country's water. The same thing happened with the forests. He believes that there is no real democracy in Chile because it has no autonomous control over its natural resources.
He explains that coal is one of the worst polluters of the environment in the United States, and that it is necessary to replace this source of energy as fast as possible, but there are three obstacles: the existing subsidies for the oil industry, the lack of a system for new energy networks, and of effective mechanisms for penalizing those who waste resources.
Kennedy has been called one of the "Heroes of the Planet" by Time magazine for his contributions in the fight to rescue the Hudson River in New York, and for taking part in demonstrations against an oil pipeline with a group of environmentalists in front of the White House. He is the son of the late U.S. SenatorRobert F. Kennedy and nephew of the late President, John F. Kennedy, and the late Senator Ted Kennedy.