Public excluded from Bolivian Bechtel case

1 April 2003

ICSID, the investment dispute tribunal of the World Bank, ruled that it would not allow the public or media to participate in proceedings in which Bechtel is suing the people of Bolivia for $25 million. The company is suing South America’s poorest nation over its failed effort to take over the public water system of Bolivia’s third largest city, Cochabamba.

Oscar Olivera, a leader of the coalition of Bolivian peasants which filed a petition requesting public access, charged that the World Bank was “preventing the people affected from participating in a case that directly affects their lives. This is profoundly undemocratic.”