By José Rigane *
The recent sayings of Juan José Aranguren, who among other things affirms that “energy is not a human right”, are a demonstration of Macri’s project for government and for this country.
The former Minister of Energy, made these brutal statements, in a clear neoliberal sense, pointing out that since energy is a scarce resource, people must pay for it and it should not be free.
What he does not say is that in Argentina we are actually paying for energy a price much higher than production costs. The rate hikes’ money goes to the oil companies, thus guaranteeing their extraordinary income, to which profits from exportation must be added.
Aranguren also seeks to confuse people when he addresses issues such as energy saving and efficiency. He asks users to save energy in order to benefit companies, but there is no control over them nor over their investments.
In the context of an energy model based on privatization and foreignization, like the one Argentina currently has, energy is a luxury commodity and multinational companies export as much as it is possible without added value.
Energy saving is necessary. But the underlying problem is not a so-called waste of energy on the part of the people, but its appropriation on the part of multinational private companies which, contrary to national and popular interests, impose unacceptable conditions and unpayable fees, hide costs and have abusive profit margins. All of that while protected by an accomplice government that guarantees their benefits.
Aranguren’s words makes a new dent in the promises of Macri, since, without guaranteeing access to energy, it is impossible to have a Zero Poverty proposal.
Energy as a social good is recognized by the United Nations. Energy is a human right and a common good. But that does not matter to Aranguren, a former CEO of Shell who only understands that since it is a scarce resource it must be paid at the price multinationals companies want for it. Multinational companies are used to abuse and impose themselves to the nation.
Aranguren is a cynic. He knows the business and expresses that the aim of a private company is not “to do charity”. What he really wants is that the concept of energy as a profitable commodity does not change. He wants for companies to keep their profitability levels at the cost of collapsing the people’s quality of life.
A State committed to its people, a State that guarantees access to energy is what is actually needed, as is the case in several parts of the world. Energy can not be substituted and it is an essential element for life in our societies.
Asking for a world for a few, to which can only belong those who have money who will also impose their conditions upon everybody else, is savagery.
We ask for a different kind of world, a world of equity and respect, where everybody can have access to energy. A world in which every citizen can access a quality public service and in which producing energy is not only a business, without implying that the costs and the necessary profitability for the development of energy companies should not be assessed.
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