THE BOLIVIAN army killed six people earlier this month when it opened fire on demonstrators protesting against Bechtel privatising their water. San Francisco based multinational Bechtel is backed by the World Bank. The bank's director, James Wolfensohn, responded to the slaughter by saying, "The riots in Bolivia, I'm happy to say, are now quieting down." Rioting had spread across the poor Latin American country after peasants protected the city of Cochabamba against Bechtel.
Bechtel is the anti-union company brought in by New Labour to push through London's Jubilee Line Extension. The company also controls International Waters Limited (IWL) of London in partnership with United Utilities, which controls water and power in many parts of Britain. The firm was given control over Cochabamba's water system by the Bolivian government. It then announced a 35 percent rise in the price of Cochabamba's water. But the strength of mass protests and riots was such that Bolivia's dictator turned president Hugo Banzer was forced to backtrack and IWL to temporarily withdraw its plans.