Maxaranguape, Rio Grande do Norte (RN), Brazil. The beautiness of the landscape makes you think you are in paradise. The Atlantic Forest you find there is a region of tropical and subtropical moist forest, tropical dry forest, tropical savannas, and mangrove forests which extends along the Atlantic coast of Brazil from Rio Grande do Norte state in the north to Rio Grande do Sul state in the south and contains a large number of highly endangered species.
And guess who is sponsoring this luxourious resort? A big name, the handsome David Beckham, who is building his third soccer academy - the Beckham World of Sport in Brazil, a sports complex that will be located in a soon-to-be-built luxury resort.
The fact that the ruthless exploration of nature comes also from such a well-known soccer player shows that what really accounts in this world is the green colour. Not the colour of the nature though but that of the money. And for the money there is no room for second feelings but only for the building of another luxourious place for super-rich in a super-poor area.
And those who say that the new establishment will benefit the locals should check how the locals where benefitted from the tourist resorts built in the northern Bahia for instance: nearly zero. The locals were pratically expelled from the areas where they lived all their lives and got very little employment by the new tourists establishments. This is an old story in Brazil and it does not look like in RN it will be different.
But let’s go back a bit a start the story from the beginning.
Few days ago the super star of Los Angeles Galaxy David Beckham came to Brazil and exactly to a small place called Cabo de São Roque 51 km from Natal the capital of RN in the municipality of Maxaranguape. He came with Formula 1 pilot Rubens Barrichelo and the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson. The project is to be financed by the Norwegian group Brasil Development and looks gigantic: it will occupy an área of 1.2 million hectars with 8 hotels, heliport, gulf camps, commercial áreas, etc.
A statement from Beckham looks really ilarious: “I am happy Brazilian children will benefit from access to the top class facilities and coaching at this resort," Beckham said.
Beckham announced a scholarship programme available to Brazilian children that will actively reach out to schools within the region.
However the fact that local children who do not have access to basic things (in public health, education, etc.) will get free access to the resort would look really funny if it did not look outrageous.
The resort will be built in the middle of the reserve of Atlantic Forest considered a priority area for the conservation of the environment according to the MMA 2007 (Brazilian Ministry of the Environment).
The area is so poor to have some of the most alarming health and education ratios in Brazil (2003 data: Infant mortality 20% of the total population, breathing problems and diseases 44%, Neoplasias 18.5%, Tubercolosis 11.6%, Functional illiteracy rate of 32.67% http://dtr2002.saude.gov.br/caadab/indicadores/rio%20grande%20do%20norte/MAXARANGUAPE.pdf )
How this super-poor population will benefit from the magnificent resort where mr. Beckham will teach football?
Article written on February 2nd 2008