Even the Rain

In 1999 the World Bank and IMF required Bolivia to privatize all public utilities in line with their neoliberal agenda. The compliant government of Bolivia then sold the water system of Cochabamba to a subsidiary of San Francisco-based Bechtel Corporation. Bechtel proceeded to raise the water rates by as much as 200 to 300% –far beyond what the poor Bolivians could pay. The company even forbad the people to collect rain water, claiming ownership of all water. “Even the rain!” protested the people as riots rocked the city.

The documentary film Even the Rain depicts these dramatic events as backdrop for a fictional film that is being shot in Cochabamba at the time. The film is to be about Christopher Columbus’s conquest and supression of indigenous resistance. But the film soon takes on a parallelism with the real events unfolding as the people occupy public spaces in protest and are violently attacked by the government. The message is clear: the conquest continues. To today’s audiences there is also a parallel to the occupy movement in the US and the violent supression of it by local authorities.

Although Even the Rain does not carry its story forward, the Cochabamba water war opened the way to the collapse of the Bolivian government and the eventual election of Evo Morales as that country’s first indigenous president. Bolivia along with much of Latin America continues to resist the neoliberalism the US seeks to impose. Michael Moore has called Even the Rain “a brilliant movie. At a time when the poor of the world seem to be rising up, I found myself deeply moved and completely enthralled by this film. I encourage everyone in search of a great movie to go see Even the Rain.” This 2010 film is as relevant today as it was in 1999 and, indeed, as in 1492.

“Even the Rain” 2010 100 min

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