Thousand of citizens protested for weeks. The Bolivian army killed one, injured hundreds, and arrested several Coalition leaders. Olivera, who had been forced into hiding, emerged to negotiate with the government.
In April 2000, La Coordinadora won its demands when the government turned over control of the city’s water system, including its $35 million debt, to the organization and cancelled the privatization contract. La Coordinadora achieved the first major victory against the global trend of privatizing water resources. Olivera continued to head La Coordinadora’s work to develop a water system that relies neither on corrupt government management nor on transnational corporations.
Olivera currently leads water rights work as the general coordinator at Fundación Abril. With Fundación Abril, Olivera is working on a program with the goal of restoring Bolivia’s polluted Rocha River, a source of irrigation water for local farms. To do this, they will train local students and neighbors to manage a water treatment plant, reforest riverbanks with native vegetation, and build a composting system.