Today, as the problems of the collapsed lobster fishery have become less urgent, the defence of the protected territories in the midst of a magnificent dune landscape has come to the centre of attention.
Reservation of allotments of land are illegal in the „RESEX" area
Just a few years ago, fencing in of plots had not been an issue. During the pandemic, it became rampant as government-imposed covid quarantine hampered controls.
According to the "RESEX" rules, illegal land sales should be annulled and reservations of land for descendants of local people should be controlled by the state monitoring organisations "Chico Mendes" & "ICMBio" together with the local "advisory board", the "Conselho". Illegally built holiday homes should actually be demolished.
It will probably take some time before the legally established state controls are reinstated on a regular basis. The desolate state of the local office of the governmental control organisations"Chico Mendes" & "ICMBio" speaks volumes. (Picture)
The last update from the info page of "Chico Mendes" on illegal land sales in Prainha is from 2016:
The communal well-being is no longer in the foreground in Prainha, the youth is no longer familiar with the struggle for the "RESEX". Now the former, more European ideas for preserving and shaping the village are no longer in demand. The pioneer at the time, René Schärer, a man with Swiss roots, who more or less pushed the "RESEX" single-handedly through in Brasilia, fought for a closed season compensation for the lobster fishermen, made the local tourism project known as a model worldwide, is now nearly 80 years old, sick and cut off from village life. He is still being threatened with legal action by the "RESEX" opponents.
The oligarch Tales de Sé Cavalcante, a UNESCO-endowed "benefactor" since 2002, is considered an influential entrepreneur in his home town of Fortaleza. He owns an educational institution that is ironically unaffordable for the Prainhans, which is supposed to prepare young people from public schools for a university career.
Although he is now over 80 years old, he still belongs to the long-established elite in the state of Ceará with great influence on politics and justice. During the military dictatorship in 1980, he illegally acquired papers to build a villa on so-called "terra grelhada" - stolen land - in Prainha. He now claims to own over half of Prainha's property. Although he lost a lawsuit in this regard, he was nevertheless compensated by the state of Ceará after the creation of the Territorial and Marine Reserve ("RESEX") in 2009.
However, this does not stop him from accelerating the ideological deterioration of the village community in Prainha. He bribed neighbours, founded and financed "unofficially" a second, new counter-residents' association, which plots against the old association and divides the community by trying to legally annul the "RESEX", which was declared a protected area in 2009. Its influence on youth, village school and education is great.
of the "old, original" residents' association in Prainha.
20 years ago, he was one of the first youth leaders to campaign for "RESEX" and attended world social forums all over Brazil. A decade ago, he unsuccessfully ran for office in the murky local political arena.
He then ruefully returned to his village and became President of Fisheries, even though he had not been at sea since his youth.
He also puts the main blame for the local drug problems on foreign tourists to Prainha.
She too has been committed together with her parents of fighting for the "RESEX" since she was a teenager. After attending video courses, she posted videos about Prainha on the net for years as a teenager. Knows Europe from visits to relatives.
Today she is completely disillusioned about the future of the "RESEX"!
The former showcase village has now had enough of questions from journalists and scientists. Lindomar Lima, in his role as "representative", together with teacher Jaila Fernandez, was one of the few to speak in front of the camera; his explanation of why illegal fencing and sales of land plots have become so rampant shows the helplessness and powerlessness of the "RESEX" defenders in the face of raging lawlessness. (New video)
Local Politics Ceará 2022:
Old boys networks are hard to get rid of in the state of Ceará, as a video clip from the documentary "Zoff im Paradies" shows. (see video)
Also in the so-called old, initial residents' association, the internal balance is not healthy: a kind of leadership oligarchy of a single family from Prainha has formed.
The German anthropologist Carolin Brugger already confirmed this in a publication in 2009.
(see in German only)
Admittedly, the "oligarch" family members of the old Residents' Association are thoroughly "RESEX" representatives, and have been from the beginning. But they can be accused of nepotism. Alternately, they are elected either to the presidency or to the board. They also claim a large part of the travel expenses for courses and are the only ones to attend congresses.
Loss of house and eviction order
All this is made more difficult by the disintegration of the village community. Financed by the influential investor, Tales de Sá Cavalcante, a second village association was founded. It tries to abolish the declaration of a protected area, to divide the community and to gain influence over the village school and its educational content (curriculum). In 2018, when the school’s director, "Dedé" Costa Ferreira, together with the parents' association, rejected this notion, a new director was appointed and Dedé was downgraded back to ordinary teacher. In addition, in early 2019, a judge issued an eviction order for Dedé’s private home.
The background is an old land dispute. After the death of the original owner, his heirs had sold the property to a Portuguese. However, at that time, a court embargo prohibited any transactions in this part of Prainha do Canto Verde. The property was abandoned and in 2003 Dedé received permission from the local administrative association to build on it. The original buyer then tried to get the property and the house, but the case was archived after several years. It had now been reinstated again without informing Dedé or giving him a chance to defend himself. The judge, who issued the verdict, is suspected of corruption and has been forcibly put into early retirement. It is not clear, whether this is only a conflict under private law or whether it is intended to weaken RESEX and the village community as a whole. Fortunately, some human rights lawyers have now taken up the case and were able to suspend Dedé's eviction order for the time being.
The legal melee over Dedé's house paused during the pandemic. But now Dedé wants a verdict as soon as possible - whatever it may be. The uncertainty is more and more getting to him and the family. However, both he and Lindomar have regained hope after the election of "Lula" as head of state:
Because in addition to the two competing residents' associations, the so-called "Conselho", a kind of external "advisory board", was newly elected for two years in Prainha with representatives from both associations is again active after the pandemic. The members are one representative each from the women's group, the fishermen, the craftsmen and the health sector. They are to assist the state organs with local proposals.
In theory, the "conselho" is a good idea. It allows the various stakeholders to have a say in how things are run in the "RESEX" reserve; at least that is what Lindomar and his fellow campaigners hope.
Together with the government control against the illegal sale of land, they expect that it will occasionally be possible to regain the upper hand in the struggle for the preservation of the "RESEX"!
Whether this will really work out is questionable: the new-old president "Lula" would first have to wrangle with a Senate and Lower House that are predominantly loyal to Bolsonaro, especially when it comes to the issues of environmental protection and the preservation of Brazil's "RESEX".
The second most deforested "RESEX" of the Amazon has 185 thousand heads of illegal cattle and only 2 penalties were issued. See in Portuguese: