By Gina Spigarelli, 13 November 2013. Source: Upside Down World
“Queremos agua! Queremos maíz! Multinacionales fuera del país!” yelled the protesters on October 26th as they marched through the streets of El Carmen de Viboral in Eastern Antioquia, Colombia. The small town, about an hour east of Medellin, is located in a highly water-rich region of Colombia, and one where the local populations are fighting the threats of multinational companies taking over their territories. Around 1,000 people representing 60 grassroots organizations from 17 municipalities of the region traveled to participate in the fourth annual Water Festival, “for the autonomy, defense of territory, life and peace.”
Water privatization is the central theme of the annual festival, which intends to compile and share information about local social problems and human rights violations associated with the use of land for large scale multinational mining, electric, and water initiatives. The festival also serves to unite the communities from the various municipalities so they can struggle as a collaborative and united regional front against the threats to their territories.