Bishop Cappio’s health is beginning to deteriorate, as he continues a 23-day hunger strike in a non-violent action against artificial diversion of the Sao Francisco River, fourth largest river in Brazil.
Bishop Cappio began his fast on November 27, 2007. Initially, the diversion project on the river was denied by lower courts in Brazil, but today a landmark decision approved the two-billion dollar project:
The irrigation project aims to pump water from the Sao Francisco River through 435 miles (700 km) of canals to people and farms in the arid and poor northeast, where President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was born.
This is the second hunger-strike employed by the Bishop against artificial diversion of the Sao Francisco River (the first was in 2005). He is very worried about the negative effects this irrigation project will have: greatly minimizing flows of the river limiting irrigation water available for local, less affluent individuals, and a dire ecological outcome to an already unhealthy ecosystem.
While Vatican and Brazilian officials plead with the Bishop to conclude the fast, he had indicated he has no intentions to take nourishment until the project is denied, once and for all.