Water and War: Bolivian Activist Oscar Olivera On the Struggle Against Bechtel and the Privatization of Cochabamba's Water in 2000

November 01, 2002


At the beginning of this week of corporate and government meetings to negotiate the FTAA, 15 activists in San Francisco occupied the entrance to the world headquarters of the Bechtel Corporation and chained themselves to a lobby turnstile. Bechtel is one of the world’s largest engineering firms. It was targeted by the San Francisco activists because of its strong support for the Free Trade Area of the Americas and its frontline position in the rush to commodify and privatize the world’s dwindling supply of fresh water. We will now hear from Oscar Olivera, a Bolivian anti-globalization activist who has led the struggle against Bechtel in his country.


  • Oscar Olivera, co-founder, the Coordinator for the Defense of Water and Life in Bolivia. The Coordinator is a coalition of workers, environmentalists, artisans, peasants, market vendors, community groups and local governments. The group organized protests against the privatization of Cochabamba’s water in 2000.