AMERICA/CHILE - New declaration by the Apostolic Vicar of Aysen on the need to include the right to water in the text of the new Constitution

Tuesday, 3 November 2020 water   human rights   local churches  


Aysén (Agenzia Fides) - "Water is the origin of all life. Without water there is no life", said the Apostolic Vicar of Aysén, His Exc. Mgr. Luis Infanti de la Mora. "Water is an essential element for life, not only for people but for all living beings. It is also central in all religions. Water is always mentioned as a vital symbolic element, which is why it must have the importance it deserves in the new Constitution. It will have to take into account the spiritual and human meaning that this good has". This is the Apostolic Vicar said.
Mgr. Infanti de la Mora is well known, even internationally, because in 2008 he wrote a Pastoral letter entitled "Give us today the daily water" (see Fides, 3/10/2014), in which he reported the water problem in Chile: in some places it abounds, in others it is lacking, with a management that has caused a lot of discussion at all levels. Today, Archbishop Infanti points out, with Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Sì, the problem has been reinforced in particular because it has not yet been resolved.
As for the importance of including water rights in the new Constitution, the Vicar assured that "all over the world, the ownership of water belongs to the State and the management and distribution is entrusted to private companies, communities, municipalities or mixed public-private structures".
In Chile however, 82% of water owners are transnational corporations. "The problem persists! This Constitution of Chile, which grants private ownership of water to those who have the power to buy it, has favored the privatization of most of the rights to water in our country for the benefit of transnational companies. Not even Chilean", underlined Mgr. Infanti.
After the great controversy over the dams, the installation of which was planned in Aysén, the Bishop assures us that "from there an attempt was made to modify the Constitution. They wanted to change the water code law, drafted in 1981, and there has been no progress because there are strong groups made up of forestry, mining and agricultural compagnie, large companies across the country, which are doing all they can so that the current situation does not change". (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 3/11/2020)