Article 69 of the Salvadoran Constitution establishes that the State will control for the quality of FOOD and ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS that could affect health and wellbeing. The Salvadoran social movement, made up of urban and rural, religious and political, young and old, is now demanding that to this article be added the human right to WATER and FOOD.
The demand is simple: water and food are basic human rights, and as such should be prioritized for human consumption and use. But in a country where commercial interests in exploiting water and land have long overpowered the basic needs of the population at large, this demand has sparked silent but unmoving resistance. The amendment was approved by the 2009-2012 legislature, but in order to be enacted a constitutional amendment must be approved by two consecutive legislatures, and this current one is one its way out on April 30th.
Members of the ARENA and PCN parties have simply decided not to show up and face the dozens of people from different sectors that have been concentrating outside the Legislative Assembly for the past several weeks; and because they aren´t showing up, the assembly, unable to make quorum, was for several weeks not able even to bring the amendment to the table. Yet they had no problem showing up to pass an amendment banning gay marriage.
Legislators from the FMLN and GANA parties have supported the human right to food and water, but do not have sufficient votes to pass it. With just one week to go, the social movement is gearing up for non-stop vigils, musical presentations, press conferences, sit-ins in the observer deck of the assembly, all in hopes that a few more legislators will be convinced to respond to their pueblo rather than to their wallets.
Water has long been a “battle flag” for CRIPDES, and many CRIPDES leaders have reminded us recently of the violent police attacks on peaceful protests in 2007 against the privatization of water. 14 community organizers were captured and charged with terrorism for defending water for public consumption over commercialization.