PERU: Where the Poor Pay More for Water

On a slightly different note, Ángel Páez of IPS reports about the shocking state of water distribution in Peru. Not only do 8 million people (out of a population of 28 million) lack access to piped water but the inhabitants of the capital’s slums pay almost 8 times more than Lima’s super-rich elite for access to clean water.

In Lomas de Manchay, an area of slum-covered hills outside of the Peruvian capital that is home to 50,000 people, mainly poor indigenous migrants from the highlands, clean
water is worth gold – almost literally.

Local residents of the shantytown pay 3.22 dollars per cubic metre of water, compared to just 45 cents of a dollar that is paid a few blocks away, across the main avenue, in Rinconada del Lago, one of Lima’s most exclusive neighbourhoods.


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Arundhati Roy on Slumdog Millionaire

Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan’s Slumdog Millionaire was the big winner at the Oscars last night. Writer-activist Arundhati Roy was asked her opinion of the film’s global success about a week back, and here is what she had to say (see also this recent review):

People are selling India’s poverty big time both in literature and films. As they say, there is lots of money in poverty today. I am not against showing slums, but depicting them in a depoliticised manner, as has been done in the film, is quite unfortunate. Films do not show the real poor. Even if they are depicted, it’s not the true picture. The real poor are not shown in films because they are not attractive. Poverty sells but the poor do not. The film gives false hope to the poor that they too could become millionaires one day. Watching Slumdog Millionaire was like speeding on a highway with lots of potholes. The screenplay of the film is quite out of context and it feels as if a Harvard accent has been given to characters that are straight out of the Chicago black neighbourhood.