Democratic thinking

Articles on democracy in the independent online media

October 29, 2005

Brazil's diversion politics project

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has revived plans to divert part of the course of the Sao Francisco river to the sertao region, an area known for its dry, arid climate. Currently, the plan is estimated to cost 4.5bn reais (about 2bn dollars).

The project is to provide water via two main canals, which will be fed from various networks of rivers and reservoirs to four north-eastern states. Minister of National Integration Ciro Gomes declared that the project would change the lives of some 12m people, without hurting a single Brazilian.

However, there has been opposition to the project from riparian states and environmental activists, including a Catholic bishop from Bahia, Luiz Flavio Cappio. Cappio ended a hunger strike after 11 days when the government agreed to re-open debates about the matter. He said that the transposition “will demand huge resources that could be spent on other projects much closer to the reality of the people”.

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