March 31, 2009

For and against Punta Brava

Have a look at this video, which was produced by a local community group in Ensenada, Baja California, in order to combat the project that Tiger Woods is backing:

The above video emphasizes heritage, the environment, and open access to cultural resources. It was created by the same group that maintains this website.

Compare that with these two videos that I found on YouTube, in which a few individuals took a private tour of the development site via helicopter. A few things in these videos are of particular interest. First of all, there is a part in which people are apparently hitting golf balls into the ocean. Nothing too surprising, but I find it somewhat ironic for a project that is claiming to be environmentally conscious. How is hitting golf balls into the ocean seen as something that should be put on a promotional video? Also, the overall theme of the video is infused with power...those people were able to fly into Punta Banda, take their tour, eat expensive foods, and get out without any interaction with local people. How is this a good thing? How is this really beneficial for the people who live in the area? Take a look:

Finally, here is yet another YouTube video, in which someone is offering properties for sale that happen to be located right next to the proposed Punta Brava development site. Notice the stark difference between the images presented by the project website and the homes that are located on Punta Banda (the real name of the peninsula) at present:

Despite the impacts that this project will have on local cultural and natural resources, it appears to be going forward. In 1977 the anthropologist Dennison Nash compared international tourism to colonialism. While I do not think that Nash's characterization works for all cases, it certainly appears to be apt when it comes to what is happening at Punta Brava. The intended goal of the project is to literally create a small wealthy enclave in northern Baja that has little connection to the social environment that surrounds it. The only way this is possible? Money and power.

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