Related news : THERE IS NO PEACE WITHOUT JUSTICE : The other side of ilegal usurpation of public beaches, streets, lakes and national parks areas from FALSE CONDOMINIUMS´s VICTIMS Community- A non-profit organisation focusing on Human Rights issues around the world, with particular focus on BRAZIL
By Adriana Brasileiro - Mar 8, 2012 2:00
Bloomberg Markets Magazine.LinkedIn ..
Ibama via Bloomberg
From the sparkling, emerald-green waters of the Atlantic off the east coast of Brazil, Cavala Island looks like a tropical paradise of lush vegetation framed by giant rocks. It’s also where millionaire Antonio Claudio Resende, a founder of Latin America’s largest car-rental company, became a squatter.
There, starting in 2006, he cleared pristine jungle where wild bromeliad flowers grow to make way for a 1,752-square-meter mansion, according to the Rio de Janeiro state environmental agency. The house -- which is built partially underground and hidden by surrounding lush forest -- is visible only from above by aircraft.
Resende, 65, broke the rules that gave him the right to occupy the land on a nature preserve, not to build a large home, Brazilian federal judges found. He has been fighting civil and criminal charges against him for more than four years, filing appeals while defying court orders to demolish the house and leave, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its April issue.
Resende is among scores of millionaires who spend weekends and vacation time in homes built in violation of state and federal environmental rules on some of the most beautiful real estate in Brazil, Rio’s state environmental institute, INEA, found in an August 2011 report.
The squatters include movie director Bruno Barreto, who destroyed preserved land on Pico Island in Paraty Bay, prosecutors say.
Others, such as the family that controls multinational construction giant Camargo Correa SA, received government permission to build small houses in a nature preserve -- and instead constructed beachfront compounds.
Heirs to Roberto Marinho, who created Organizacoes Globo, South America’s biggest media group, built a 1,300-square-meter (14,000-square-foot) home, helipad and swimming pool in part of the Atlantic coastal forest that by law is supposed to be untouched because of its ecology.
Hollywood producers chose a Polynesian-style mansion on the Mamangua Inlet as the romantic setting for a sex scene in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1,” the fourth movie in the teen vampire series. The house was built by millionaire squatter Icaro Fernandes, an executive in the food distribution industry.
All Brazilian beaches are public by law. Wealthy Brazilians do whatever they want on land that often doesn’t belong to them, says Eduardo Godoy of the Paraty office of the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation, or ICMBio, which manages federally protected areas.
‘Not What the Law Says’
“They think they are the only ones who deserve to enjoy a piece of paradise because they are rich,” Godoy says. “They say they are the owners of the island or the beach, and everybody believes them. But that’s not what the law says.”
Fernandes declined to comment. Rogerio Zouein, his lawyer, admitted that Fernandes had built a house without a license. Zouein told prosecutors in April 2011 that Fernandes would restore 95 percent of his property to its original condition if he could stay in the home. Prosecutors were evaluating the request as of early March.
That court response is a common way that many of the wealthy squatters use to handle judges’ orders. They typically don’t deny they’ve harmed the environment and instead pledge to undo the damage. After that, they take no action.
Film director Barreto promised in court in January 2008 that he would demolish his house and put the area back to its original state within two years. Four years later, Barreto remains on the property, having left it intact, prosecutors say. Barreto, who is appealing government complaints again him, declined to comment.
As the wealthy in Brazil get richer from the fastest economic growth there in more than two decades, the unlawful use of public land is increasing in nature preserves, says Godoy, whose federal environmental agency in Paraty, a 17th-century colonial town about 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Rio de Janeiro, faces a bay filled with illegally occupied islands.
Squatters have chosen to reside in the Cairucu, Juatinga and Tamoios conservation areas, in forests and on islands, with rivers, waterfalls and beaches where sea turtles nest. The rich use attorneys to dodge laws, lie to authorities on construction permit requests, illegally destroy preserved land and rivers and privatize beaches by hiring armed security guards to keep out visitors, Godoy says.
Law enforcers and judges pushing to remove squatters from nature preserves have little clout, says Fernando Amorim Lavieri, a federal prosecutor who spent three years in the Paraty area. Rich Brazilians can get away with almost anything, Lavieri says.
“The law is the same for the poor and the rich, but the rich have the best lawyers,” he says. “Lawsuits against them drag on in court for years.”
Brazil’s economy, fueled by a credit surge and booming exports during the past decade, has boosted the value of assets, including real estate, stocks, bonds and commodities, thereby creating 19 new millionaires every day in a country of 190 million people, according to the 2010 World Wealth Report by Capgemini SA (CAP) and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Brazilians have a collective net worth of $890 billion, or 39 percent of all individual assets in South America, according to a November 2011 report by Wealth-X, a Singapore-based research firm.
Squatters take advantage of loopholes in the laws, Lavieri says. Starting in 1983, the federal government enacted laws to preserve the regions of Paraty and nearby Angra dos Reis because rare species at risk of extinction inhabit them. Local statutes allow some people to live there because indigenous fishing families have been in now-preserved areas for generations.
‘Follow the Rules’
Everyone who buys a right to a property in a conservation area must follow strict limits on what they can build, if they’re allowed to build at all.
“If they don’t follow the rules, the government can revoke their right to occupy the land and order them to demolish whatever they built,” says Jose Olimpio Augusto Morelli, an environmental analyst who heads the office of Ibama, Brazil’s federal environmental agency, in Angra dos Reis.
Ibama ordered Resende to tear down the house he was building on Cavala Island.
Federal prosecutors charged Resende, vice chairman and the largest shareholder of Localiza Rent a Car SA, with fraud and environmental crime in November 2007. Resende had filed forged documents in seeking permits to build his mansion on Cavala Island, according to the criminal charges.
In March 2008, federal police, Ibama and state government agents raided Cavala from two speedboats and found the hidden paradise. In that raid, Morelli says, he saw two huge machines that Resende used to excavate more than 2,000 square meters of earth to hide his mansion below the tree line.
“I saw a fireplace big enough to fit a car, and there were huge piles of marble everywhere, waiting to be placed on the floors and walls,” Morelli says.
Prosecutors sued Resende in a civil case in August 2008, saying he had violated environmental rules.
Resende paid 4.8 million reais ($2.8 million) in November 2005 to AC Lobato Engenharia SA, an engineering company based in Angra dos Reis that had previously owned the right to occupy the land, according to a federal police investigation.
Resende has been appealing the civil and criminal accusations. He said in a court-filed response that federal judges shouldn’t rule on the case because the Tamoios conservation area was created by a state decree. Sergio Rosenthal, his lawyer, said in court that Resende doesn’t know anything about fraud or forged documents.
Only Tropical Fjord
On the other side of Paraty Bay, Icaro Fernandes, owner of Rhino Participacoes`s Distribuidora de Alimentos Ltda., a Sao Paulo-based wholesale food distributor, bought a 400,000-square- -meter piece of land in 2003 on Praia da Costa beach on the Mamangua Inlet.
The property, in the 8,000-hectare (19,800-acre) Juatinga ecological preserve, is protected because it’s home to the only tropical fjord in South America. The spot is flanked by mountains covered with virtually untouched forest where monkeys, anteaters and jaguars live.
Fernandes constructed a two-story, 666-square-meter home on the beach, prosecutors say in a civil court case against him. The 15-room house has wooden shutters and glass-panel windows on the ground floor. A guesthouse and a housekeeper’s chalet sit up a hill.
Federal prosecutors sued Fernandes in November 2004 for not obtaining an environmental license to build. He had cut down parts of the protected forest, filled in a stream and removed coastal vegetation, federal prosecutor Patricia Venancio wrote in a Jan. 3, 2006, report.
A court ordered Fernandes in 2004 to stop construction, and he didn’t. Since then, he’s been appealing judicial demands to tear down the house he completed and restore the land to its original state, according to a September 2011 report by ICMBio.
Paul Pflug, a spokesman for Summit Entertainment Corp., (SUET) says the company isn’t aware of prosecutor accusations regarding the property where it filmed Breaking Dawn.
Most millionaires register properties in the names of holding companies, allowing them to pay lower taxes and making it more difficult for the government to know who’s responsible for environmental crimes, says Ricardo Martins, a federal prosecutor. Often, the companies are controlled by other companies based in tax havens.
That’s the case with the Marinho media family. The Marinhos broke environmental laws by building a 1,300-square-meter mansion just off Santa Rita beach, near Paraty, says Graziela Moraes Barros, an inspector at ICMBio.
Without permits, the family in 2008 built a modernist home between two wide, independent concrete blocks sheathed in glass, Barros says. The Marinho home has won several architectural honors, including the 2010 Wallpaper Design Award.
The Marinhos added a swimming pool on the public beach and cleared protected jungle to make room for a helipad, says Barros, who participated in a raid of the property as part of the federal prosecutors office’s lawsuit against construction on the land.
This one house provides examples of some of the most serious environmental crimes we see in the region,” Barros says. “A lot of people say the Marinhos rule Brazil. The beach house shows the family certainly thinks they are above the law.”
Two security guards armed with pistols patrol the land, shooing away anyone who tries to use the public beach, she says. A federal judge in November 2010 ordered the family to tear down the house and all other buildings in the area. The Marinhos were appealing that ruling as of early March.
Their lawyer, Corina Tarcila de Oliveira Resende, who’s not related to Antonio Claudio Resende, declined to comment.
Barreto built his dream house on an island 15 kilometers from the Marinho compound. The film director has no right to use the land, police say. Prosecutors charged Barreto in February 2006 with illegally clearing protected forest in an area that belongs to Brazil’s navy.
A September 2008 inspection by ICMBio found that Barreto had built a 450-square-meter mansion on top of rocks that surround the island -- a crime because the area is protected as a breeding ground for several species, ICMBio’s Godoy says.
Barreto, who was married to actress Amy Irving and who directed “View From the Top” starring Gwyneth Paltrow and “Carried Away” with Dennis Hopper, hasn’t made good on his 2008 court promise to demolish the house. He and his lawyers, Arthur Lavigne and Fernanda Silva Telles, didn’t reply to requests for comment.
The owners of Camargo Correa (CCIM3), Brazil’s largest construction conglomerate, also built on preserved land, Barros says. Agropecuaria & Comercial Conquista Ltda. and Regimar Comercial SA own the land. Fernando de Arruda Botelho is the owner of Agropecuaria.
He’s married to billionaire Rosana Camargo de Arruda Botelho. Regina de Camargo Pires Oliveira Dias, Rosana’s sister, owns Regimar. The family built a luxury compound in the Cairucu nature preserve, according to reports by Ibama. In October 2011, the family illegally built two 700-square-meter houses, adding to the already unauthorized construction, Barros says.
In June 2010, the beach was the venue for the wedding of Fernando Augusto Camargo de Arruda Botelho, Fernando Botelho’s son. About 800 guests attended.
Contradictory and Confusing
Fernando Botelho declined to comment. Regimar executive director Jose Sampaio Correa says the company obtained the required licenses for construction. He says environmental rules in conservation areas are sometimes contradictory and confusing. Brazil’s bureaucracy often makes it difficult to comply with the laws, he says.
“These actions are proof that they completely disregard the law, they take ownership of natural resources and believe their rights are greater than the rights of everybody else,” prosecutor Lavieri says.
As environmental investigator Morelli gets ready in his office for another boat raid one sunny January morning, he admires the beautiful islands and forests he sees from his windows. He says he dreams of a day when rich Brazilians will set the example of how to do things right. Until then, he says, money will continue to be more powerful than the law.
Editors: Jonathan Neumann, Gail Roche
To contact the reporter on this story: Adriana Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro at email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Neumann at firstname.lastname@example.org
Related news : THERE IS NO PEACE WITHOUT JUSTICE
The other side of ilegal usurpation of public beaches, streets, lakes and national parks areas
Open Letter to Min. CEZAR PELUSO ...
Open Letter to Min. CEZAR PELUSO against BRAZIL´s HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
Key Words: Human Rights, Constitution, False Compounds, Double Taxation, Encronchment of Areas of Common Use.
Brazil lives a situation of intolerable legal insecurity in face of the alarming facts that attack in a explicit way the fundamental civil rights that are part of its democracy, both of natives and foreigners. Families losing their houses. Retired people losing their houses. Humble people having the right of not joining forcefully and that would never live in compounds legally built, now are treated as indebted compound residents. The furious greed for profits by residents associations combined to a law that faces basic regiments of the constitution.
It is coherent that in a plain civil rights state, the commitment of all the society sectors on a common case should be an organic evidence of its social and political health. Associations are also made so that citizens can speak their minds and entities objetively commited to dialogue and propose solutions along with the public power. These solutions aim to correct or diminish problems that affect the nation.
In this context all the social spheres should be included, as all contribute and receive from the Treasury. It could be by using the basic services as health, security and education. In case there is a disagreement between tax service and what you receive in return, a relaxing state is set between the citizen and the public power. This disagreement is shown by this way: the taxpayer that has got less rely only on the return of its contribution power, such as health, education, security, planning. In turn, the taxpayer who has got more can’t usufruct of what it has the right, preferring the private categories of services such as medical care, private schools, private security. However, they can’t abdicate the taxes they have to pay to the government. Thus it happens the abnormal situation of the citizen who has less, compelled by the associations to pay “double taxation”, one official and the other parallel. This disagreement saps the credibility of a democratic state and install the private heritage power, dismissing the obligation between citizen and public power (civitas) and increasing the distance between theory and practice of public areas and common goods of civil society.
The evil side of this math is not the public services and the official taxes, not rarely imbalanced that the contributor has to pay, but the gradual absorption from a real right state to a relative pseudo-right state, betrayer, demagogic that reduces.the soverengty of the constitution in favour of the corporatism of an influential wealthy part of the population. The right of the residents to take part on the public business (polis) according to the collectivity loses its meaning when the final intention is to segregate, distance, brand and despoil. The term for this values crisis is usurpation, which erodes silently the democratic state of the country. It is also the term that the victims have to deal with. Victims whom are public humiliated, mistreated, beaten, reduced to the condition of financial insolvency and labelled as illicit.
The absurd situation here installed by the public power under the sights of the good justice need to be underlined so that cunning interpretations can be put apart: the districts denominated as an exception scheme such as “cells” or “bolsões residenciais” submit all their residents an administrative and financial coup that generates ilegal profits and damages the taxpayer that needs the basic services. The city halls keep on charging asphalt maintenance but they discharge themselves from their own duties whereas street conservation and public security are automatically outsourced. The contributor that should have access to all these rights is three times damaged. First because it pays to the Government a mandatory tax and can’t be discharged of that. Second because it doesn’t receive the basic services that are the reason for these taxes. Third because the parallel taxation installed by the associations is coercive and it is based on a taylorist justice as a way of intimidating the ones who are against it.
The evil side continues in the scary sights of elderly people that watch in a short period of time dramatic changes in their villages: walls, gates, private security, charges and legal notifications. In addition the news about kidnapping, violence and robbery. They should within the limit of their strenght still deal with the seizure of their property and all the resources they have been saving for all their lives and to add insult to injury with the nod of the justice that should be aware of the soverengty of the Magna Carta.
It is known that there are some cases of retired people, without any help from neighbours who clap their hands when justice officials arrive for criminal investigations of their goods. The income they earn from their retirement is really tricky. Should they spend part of their salary in medicine or accept the parallel taxation that will definitely not bring any benefits for the nation? The benefits of the ones who intend to be compounds are questionable when they operate on the surface of the most obvious patina that the appearance can offer.
The uncertainty operated in this fragile mental process of the ones that uses the private security, charging to divide the taxes from the one who is not associated is wide open exposed in the pharaonic entrance halls of compounds and also in the abusive costs of maintenance of signs of financial prosperity instead of effective security. It is uncertain because it uses as an allibi a common concern that affects all offering a solution that amplifies their social position. It is uncertain because the argument of the literate part that defend the mandatory compound setting of the country based on the “Social Fact” reduce to venality and comercial promotion when observed by a human optic. What else are we talking about if not the separation of rich and poor? Only that the law that before ensured the isonomy rights, the dignity and the protection of the citizen (societas) in view of the arbitrariness of the State and the free game of markets is if automatically shaken. Let’s quote part of the article Cidade, Cidadania e Segregação Urbana, by Luiz Cesar de Queiroz Ribeiro, Coordinator of Observatório de Políticas Urbanas e Gestão Municipal – IPPUR/FASE/UFRJ.
Nowadays there are changes or “disruptions in the historical process” that impact in a specific way [...] the polis (the resident right to take part in the public business) increases while the civitas (relations based on rights and duties mutually respected) remains hypertrophied and societas (rights to protect the resident agains arbiriitrarieness of the state, protection of social values in the face of the free game of market) virtually inexist.
Thus the trust in the city and state justice, which accepted outlandish arguments such as “illegal enrichment”, was also shocked, saying that the villages associations who encourage their inhabitants to think and act as speculators of their own property were right.
It is important to be said that a democratic state is only accepted if the legal decisions were predictable and these were based on an objetive and clear constitution and not the opposite as some judges prefer to lead it. It is just like being taken back to the the aristocratic period. It is worth regaining Monstequieu’s concept about the collective power of democracy face the power of the minority who controls the state in favour of their own interest. Montesquieu said that while republic the people being only one body has all the rights and this is a democracy. If it is on the hands of only one part of the population, it is called aristocracy. And when it is an aristocracy the power is going to be only on the hands of a few people. They create the law and they make them work. One of the remarks of aristocracy is the unequal rights, uneven punishment of crimes and the patrimonialism that takes off the right of the next one. The only aim is to expand and privatize the collective goods.
The house is a cozy place, it has got a lot of meanings, and it gives people identity and family belonging and it gives people a common history. A safe place to be, a reference that will always be in the social relationships of a human being during different parts of its life. The father’s house, the mother’s house, the grandparents’ house, your own house, the humble but honest and safe house. This is not the house deliberated by the brazilian justice, but an object of trade effort as active risk. They speculate about the tranquil streets that attracted huge mansions, they speculate about walls that would surround the same streets, they speculate about private security, they speculate about the appreciation of their house even though they have never celebrated contract with any real state agency or future market. So it is necessary to know that the family built its home paying all the taxes so that it could be sure to give condition to educate their kids, to take care of their elderly and for the dignity of the breadwinner, definitely not speculating about possible profits or loss in the property value.
The decision to build an extra property for future demand depends on financial maturity and also knowledge that is acquired along the time and practice and it is also a risk that can only be measured by the agreement of all the people who share the same shelter. The first house, the only house, is the guarantee that a family can grow bigger, it is the place that separates the natural person and the legal person’s world, due to the people’s respect, fraternity, love, solidarity and tolerance. The investment on this sacred place is humane.
But the law assumes a new genre of family affected by these villages associations and property administrators: useless, materialist, apparent, affective bonds based from the consumption and the possession of objects. The values that came before the economic liberalism obviously remain in brands and products that show traditional images intentionally connected to family security, they are places’ names and things revived in advertisement campaigns that we used to hear only from our grandparents. It is surely the image of a margerine brand family that immediately shows as a concept when we try quickly to order our minds. We have Portal dos Manacás family, Residencial Florada da Serra family, Condomínio Jurupês family, bolsão dos Marqueses family. But also the Citroen family, the Honda family and the Audi family.
The Editorial Market on the other hand specializes itself in campaigns targeting the inner-walls consumers, launching great visual appeal magazines, making its participants being part of a reality based on sophism. Luxury as a way to show social position and the hedonist consumption is what presents a resident of a false compound, who tries to gain more and maintain its material heritage with no concern to the limits it has as a citizen. The sites with short walls threaten its properties, as outside looks could check its house. The old residents must therefore adjust their places to the new pattern ruled by the fast village expansion or what has been more common: give up having their own house before they are sued for illegal enrichment.
The image steem seems to interfere more and more in the essencial human values and this should never be worked by the legal framework. It is asked which argument take villages associations to conclude that the style of mansions recently built contribute to the appreciation of your neighbour property, so that this one has to pay for the maintenance done by others. From this point on it is not said about improvements on private security that acts outside the state and inside the walls of this territory.
In face of this disonestly distorted interpretation, it urges that the justice acts together in all its spheres, and that it stops this circle of uncertainties that annoys victims of this psychological pressure that causes them harm to their health and reduce their lives expectations. If villages associations win the case, gaining huge portions of urban area and their mandatory taxes e fundamentally anti-constitutional goes agains human rights and installs a dangerous gap in the rights of basic living. It is the same as if the state gives the rules of soil sharing to a wild market that will dislodge the families that do not accept the rules of the game.
Accepting the speech of outsource sector employees shamelessly in the evil game of associations and administrations pretend to be lambs, justice won’t do more than destroy families and convict citizens that have contributed to the state thrir whole life to a painful and unsolvable situation, which they have no guilt. This legal abandon is made by violence agains the human rights, as it strenghts the social tensions when they install a democracy of few instead of having a real democracy.
Most respectfully yours
I direct this twofold letter to the Human Rights Watch office, Poststrasse 4/5, Berlim.
Brazil Embassy, in Hansaallee 32A - German and to:
Ilmo. Presidente do Supremo Tribunal Federal - STF
Ministro Cezar Peluso
Praça dos Três Poderes
70175-900 Brasília DF Brazil
Exmo. Presidente do Superior Tribunal de Justiça - STJ
SAFS – Quadra 06 - Lote 01 – Trecho III
70095-900 Brasília DF Brazil
Ilmo.Ministro do Supremo Tribunal Tribunal Federal - STF
Praça dos Três Poderes
70175-900 Brasília DF Brazil
nistério Público do Estado de São Paulo
Rua Boa Morte 661 – Centro
13480-181 Limeira SP Brazil