Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan purchased 242 acres of land on the Hawaiian island of Kauai at the end of April. In doing so, they almost doubled their real estate on the island. The local residents, who previously had problems with Zuckerberg on the island, are furious. ‘Neo-colonialism’, it sounds.
On March 19, Zuckerberg and Chan purchased three lots on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The land is approximately 242 acres and includes Larsen’s Beach. The beach remains accessible to the public, because the Facebook CEO could not buy the street that leads to the beach. The price tag is about $ 53 million. A piece of cake for the American who is worth about $ 117.8 billion.
The couple bought the land from the nonprofit Waioli Corporation, a group that is supposed to guard the historic sites on the land. Waioli was founded in the early 19th century by the Wilcox family, a family of missionaries.
The area that Zuckerberg bought also contains the ‘Lepeuli ahupua’a’, a beautiful piece of land with a stretch of coral reef and a rich fauna and flora that are part of a historical collection in an area that was a nature reserve for centuries.
“We know this land is in good hands with Mark and Priscilla. They will be responsible administrators of ‘Lepeuli’, ”said a press release from Waioli.
Locals have to relocate
The locals on Kauai do not agree with that. They call Zuckerberg’s shopping spree on the island ‘neocolonialism’.
In 2015, Zuckerberg already bought about 283 hectares on the island. However, several families still lived on that land. Those inhabitants are ‘kamaaina’, or Hawaiian descendants of the original inhabitants of the island. They usually have no documentation to support their residence on the island, although they have lived there all their lives.
Zuckerberg then sued the residents on his new plot of land, forcing them to move and sell their land. When the island’s local newspaper reported on this, Zuckerberg promptly dropped things. However, according to local activists, Zuckerberg continued the legal attack through a shadow company led by local professor Carlos Andrade. Zuckerberg denies all ties to Andrade.
‘Stop the colonization of Kauai by Mark Zuckerberg’
A spokesperson for Facebook said Newsweek in 2017 that Zuckerberg “ didn’t force any Hawaiian off the island. ” Still, the locals are furious. Last summer, another petition was started against the Facebook CEO on change.org. “Stop the colonization of Kauai by Mark Zuckerberg,” was the rallying cry.
‘This is the face of neo-colonialism,’ Kapua Sproat, a professor at the University of Hawaii, told The Guardian. Zuckerberg and Chan, meanwhile, insist that they will honor the island’s wildlife and not harass the locals.
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