The First International Gathering of Sowers and Guardians of Water

In the village of K’oari, in the municipality of Tiraque, in the department of Cochabamba, in the Plurinational State of Bolivia, from November 14-18 of 2018, around 90 participants in an international gathering were witnesses to the Pachakuti. It has been a profound honor to be a humble student in the popular, plurinational, and pluricosmovisionary school of the Bolivian people. The conclusions of this gathering have been published in “The Declaration of K’oari.”I am writing this report to add to this historic declaration a few extra glimpses of the enchantment:

1) The encounter of the eagle and condor, in the Lagoon of Infiernillos (where the duendeslive), with a continental ceremony to our Mother Water, shared between the original peoples of Our America; Quechua-Aymara-Guarani-Maya-Yaqui-Mapuche-Seneca-Mohawk…

2) The passing of the staff of command from K’oari to Mesopotamia…

3) A Mapuche mayor demanding “Ocean for Bolivia!”

The re-encounter of the revolutionary peoples of Bolivia and Venezuela, through the influence of Watershed Schools who Sow Water…

The cooperation (“ayni”) between communities and guests, municipalities and ministries, NGOs and volunteers, old and young revolutionaries – all in function and in the service of an exchange of experiences between the original peoples and their living books; to arrive at an agreement and a plan of action for the sowing of water over the long term and on a global scale, as represented in the Declaration of K’oari…

These were unique and unprecedented moments! Once again Cochabamba makes history! For the first time with the water wars in 2000. Later again, with the summit on climate change with the Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth in 2010. And now again, in 2018, in a gathering with wide resonance across space and time, to set the course for sowers and guardians of water around the world.

What does it mean to sow water? The sower of water is a very special person, who combines meteorological, hydrological, botanical, geological, zoological, historical, cultural, and spiritual knowledge – and more! – in an ancestral practice of generating and managing water, so that it may spring and flow; to care for and nurture the holistic and harmonious relation between the sky and the soil. These are beings in danger of extinction. Thus the urgency and importance of an international gathering of these elder sisters and brothers.

Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia, once said that “the planet is suffering from a fever due to climate change, and the sickness if the capitalist development model.” In this sense and for this sickness we can wager that the most qualified doctors that humanity has in this moment are the sowers of water.

Delegates arrived from Canada, the United States, Mexico, Venezuela, Guatemala, Chile, Turkey, Kurdistan, and from all the departments of Bolivia.

Here we have seen proof that there is a new actor in the state of geopolitics – it is called the First Ecosocialist International. It was bornthe year before in a maroon community in Venezuela, and it landed in K’oari, Tiraque, Cochabamba, Bolivia –  fulfilling the first action planned on its Route of Struggle, which goes slowly and surely towards a horizon of 500 years. One year ago, it promised:

+ We will facilitate “The First International Encounter of Sowers and Guardians of Water” in the Plurinational State of Bolivia, in November of 2018. The Bolivian people will decide on the exact location, but we suggest the following criteria:

* To recognize the communities of Cochabamba and their struggle for water,
* That it be hosted by grassroots communities and movements,
* To recognize water as a tool for the construction of unity between all peoples who struggle for peace and the right to water.

There is a proverb that bad news travels fast, but good news travels slowly… as the snail, the mascot of the Zapatistas in Mexico says, “slowly, but I advance… we don’t run because we’re going far!”

The warriors of the rainbow have met on the horizon of the Qullasuyu and of Abya Yala. Their compass is oriented towards the upbringing of watersheds.

We will see each other again on April 4th, 2019 – on another day of global struggle against the privatization of water.

Mother Water or Death! We will convince!

[This report was first published in Spanish in November 2018 in Lucha Indigena #148. Now it appears here in English translation for the first time.]