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Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 21:24:46 -0200
To: techdiver@aq*.co*,
From: Sergio Viegas <info@sa*.co*.br*>
Subject: A Brazilian matter
Cc: EspeleoLista@ya*.co*.br*
Before the debate about the need of guides in Brazilian cave dives gets out
of proportion, some issues must be addressed:

1. In Brazil, there is a public policie that tourism development should
support local devolopment, specially if the local community is poor. So,
investments in places with turistic potential should be conneced with the
generation of jobs for the local community.  Since this is a national
policy, it is impossible to aprove, in Local, State or Federal levels,
projects that won´t contribute directly to employment generation. If you add
the need for enviromental conservation and the enviromental laws, in Brazil
natural atractions can only be visited with a local guide. That applies for
most of the ecoturism that is done in Brazil.

2. In NSS/NACD textbooks and courses, one is thought to respect local
legislation and owners property right (for example, there are many caves in
Florida that are forbidden for divers because of landowners rights...). 
Well, in
Brazil we have a very specific legislation. The cave belongs to the Union,
even though is located in a private owned land. So, the Union has the legal
right to legislate about the usage of the cave (including the possibility of
diving or not in it). There is another legal issue in discussion - if the
cave is owned by the Union and the owner of the land wants to explore it
commercially, he must follow some legal rules - the "Portaria 89".

3. The rules permitting cave diving have just been approved. Generally, the
owner and a diving center should apply for a permission and after it is
granted, is the sole responsable for the cave conservation. If anything
happens in the cave (destruction, incidents or accidents), the owner and the
diving operator are legally responsable, and penalties varies from fines to
prision, depending on the offense.

4. The "portaria 89" should respect public policies, including the one that
ask for generation of jobs locally trough the obligation of guided dives. 
Some members of the cave
diving community, who were participating in the discussion for the
regulamentarion of cave diving in Brazil were against the need of the guide.
But, since there is the public policy and the dive operator and the land owner
are legally responsible for any incidents / accidents / destruction of the
cave, the obligation seems obvious, at least legally.

5. That doesn´t mean that the guide has
to go inside the cave with each diver. If he/she is sure that the diver
knows his/her way and has the buoyance control needed for the more decorated
caves, the guide can let the dive team go into the cave alone. But, if
something happens, the guide and the landowner are legally responsable,
since the cave exploration is a Federal concession.

So, to resume the debate, before start writing offensive messages to the
Brazilian Cave Diving community, one should know more about local regulation
and remember what he/she learn ins his/her cave diving course...

Best Regards,

Sergio Viegas
Secao de Espeleologia Subaquatica
Sociedade Brasileira de Espeleologia

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