( Part of the RESEX )
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 land allotments is illegal in the RESEX area
Just a few years ago, the fencing in of plots had not been an issue. During the pandemic, it became rampant as the Covid quarantine, which was imposed by the government, hampered the controls.
According to the RESEX rules, illegal land sales should be annulled and land reservations for the 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.
The last update from the info page of "Chico Mendes" on illegal land sales in Prainha is from 2016:
Office "Chico Mendes"
The communal well-being is no longer in the forefront 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 through single-handedly in Brasilia, fought for closed season compensation for the lobster fishermen; he made the local tourism project known as a model worldwide, but he is now over 80 years old, sick and cut off from village life. He is still being threatened with legal action by the opponents of RESEX.
The oligarch Tales de Sé Cavalcante, a UNESCO-endowed "benefactor" since 2002. (Regional Coordinator of the PEA-UNESCO Network). He 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 belongs still to the long-established elite in the federal state of Cearà, with great influence in 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 Cearà 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 “unofficially” financed 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. His influence on the youth, on the village school and on education is great.
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.
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 the foreign tourists coming to Prainha.
She, too, has committed herself, together with her parents, to fighting for the “RESEX” since she was a teenager. After attending video courses, for years as a teenager she posted videos about Prainha on the internet. She knows Europe from visits to relatives there.
Today she is completely disillusioned about the future of the RESEX!
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.
In the so-called old, initial residents’ association also, the internal balance in not healthy: a single family from Prainha has formed a kind of leadership oligarchy.
The German anthropologist Carolin Brugger already confirmed this in a publication in 2009.
Admittedly, the “oligarch” family members of the old residents’ association are through and through representatives of RESEX, and have been so from the beginning. But they can be accused of nepotism. They are elected alternately 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
The oligarch Tales, who schemed against the RESEX from the beginning, tried very early on to gain influence not only through the new residents' association, but also through the village school. He succeeded in intervening with the local education authority and downgraded the then pro-RESEX headmaster Dedé back to ordinary teacher, A new headmaster was more conciliatory towards Tales.
But the whole affair began in 2010 when Dedé inherited his father's hut and knocked it down to replace it with a new, modern house. He got official permission from the old residents' association to do so. The RESEX building rules state that you had to be a resident of Prainha and born there to build.
Suddenly, a supposed "Portuguese owner" turned up on his property, filed a lawsuit and presented a contract of sale to the court. The court accepted this document, although it was not an official deed.
The case, after several years, was archived and then dug up again in 2019 without informing the teacher Dedé or giving him a chance to defend himself. The judge who issued the verdict is suspected of corruption and was given early retirement. It is unclear whether this is just a private law conflict or is meant to weaken the RESEX and the village community as a whole. Fortunately, some human rights lawyers have now taken up the cause and were able to suspend Dedé's eviction order for the time being in 2019.
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 getting to him and the family more and more. 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 and is again active after the pandemic. The members consist of one representative each from the women’s group, the fishermen, the craftsmen and the health sector. They are to assist the state institutions with local proposals.
IIn theory, the “conselho” is a good idea. It allows the various stakeholders to have a say in how things should run in the RESEX reserve; at least, that is what Lindomar and his fellow campaigners are hoping.
Together with the government checks 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.
2023: Re-orientation of the RESEX regulations
Carlos Alberto Pinto dos Santos (BA)
Fisherman, a member of the 2023 transitional government
President of the Commission for Brazilian RESEX nad traditional people..
has turned down a post in Lula’s government in Brasilia because he still fishes and wants to look after his RESEX.
In his function as president of the RESEX commission "CONFREM", which advises state control bodies from the residents' point of view, Carlinhos pleads for a complete reorientation of the RESEX rules and laws to the contemporary times.
"But if you ask me, if some of the RESEX will survive based on more than 20 years old rules:
...we are now living in a different, new world."
Whether this will work out is difficult to predict: the new-old president “Lula” must first wrangle with a Senate and Lower House that are predominantly loyal to ex-president Bolsonaro, especially when it comes to the issues of environmental protection and the preservation of Brazil’s RESEX.