The right of the population to have a say
The model of tourism in Prainha do Canto Verde, initially developed under the leadership of René Schärer, is based, with the help of various NGOs, on the development of sustainable, participatory economic tourism that adapts to the environment and to the culture of local fishermen. An ideal tourist is someone who adjusts to village life, feels comfortable in the simple accommodations and restaurants and, to communicate, ideally speaks Portuguese.
The dunes along the coast of Ceará are among the most beautiful and pristine in Brazil. Investors discovered this a long time ago. So, for the past 40 years, greedy politicians and land sharks have repeatedly tried to turn Prainha into a lucrative holiday resort.
Not until decades after the event, almost 30 years ago, did it become known that an oligarch, Tales de Sá Cavalcante from Fortaleza, had built an already-then illegal luxury villa on the beach on the outskirts of the village, and that he was also behind land claims to almost half of the land in the village.
Some inhabitants went to court against him, but the mills of the judiciary grind slowly and it was only in 2009 that a presidential decree granted them the rights to 610 hectares of land and offshore waters, the so-called RESEX (Land and Marine Reserve).
Despite a multi-award-winning tourism project, involving the merger of several coastal villages in Ceará, they have not been able to prevent the arrival of masses of tourists. ( see Video)
The unpredictable effects of the election of the new president, who threatens to abolish all indigenous protected areas in the Amazon region, and the scheming oligarch in Prainha - still bribing parts of the population - cause anxiety over an uncertain future for the RESEX.
2015: Excerpts from the documentary in German: "Zoff im Paradies"
More and more of those bribed fishermen are illegally, and for next to nothing, selling the land allocated to them by the local RESEX Board of Directors, to other villagers or tourists. There is already bad blood between villagers because carefully planned building zones are suddenly dissolved and, for example, right of way to individual houses is no longer granted.
These misguided fishermen are not used to long-term thinking. They do not consider where they and their children will live after a sale. ( see Video)
When locals illegally sell their homes, they lose the right to claim new land in RESEX. Outside the reserve, in the dune free hinterland, land for building is very expensive and fishermen would have to travel a long way to get to their Jangadas.
The arable coastal dunes of Prainha do Canto Verde are becoming scarce. The building of houses outside the village is only allowed on fixed dunes. However, even there, thanks to today's climate change, shifting dunes are rolling over the houses. Every day villagers must try and level the accumulated sand that threatens their houses.
There is a battle raging over the beach front row - the beach construction zone - which should actually be regulated by the municipality.
The family clans bribed by the oligarch currently have their guesthouses directly by the sea. The only - unfortunately macabre - consulation for families pushed to the back rows is:
In a few years time, another beach promenade will have been swallowed up by the sea and they, the inhabitants with houses in today's second row, will then be fronting the beach.
International Awards for socially sustainable tourism: in German only
Ökotourismus: Prainha do Canto Verde
UNO: Jahr des Ökotourismus
Charlotte Eichhorn wurde für den Beitrag ausgezeichnet.