Brazil: bishop suspends hunger strike in river struggle

Brazilian Bishop Luiz Cappio of Barra, Bahia, announced during mass Dec. 20 that he was ending his 23-day hunger strike against a massive government water diversion project. President Luiz “Lula” Inacio da Silva said the previous day that the project will go forward, as Brazil’s Supreme Court overruled a federal judge who had ordered construction halted. Brazil’s largest public works project is to divert water from the Rio Sao Francisco through 700 kilometers of canals to towns and farms in the arid northeast, where Lula was born. Bishop Cappio, who had been hospitalized the previous day, “decided to interrupt the fasting, but not the fight,” said his assistant Adriano Martins. (Reuters, BBC, Correio da Bahia, Dec. 20)

The struggle for the Sao Francisco has provoked road blockades and a previous hunger strike by Bishop Cappio.

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