Leitura para o fim-de-semana: pobres mas com casas de milhões

O Upper East Side, em Manhattan, é uma das zonas mais exclusivas de Nova Iorque. Com vista para o Central Park, é habitada por artistas e celebridades endinheiradas. Mas uma investigação do The Telegraph revelou também que é aí que estão instaladas as embaixadas e residências de diplomatas de algumas das nações mais pobres do mundo. Um exemplo: Cabo Verde, que ocupa a 123ª posição no Índice de Desenvolvimento Humano tem um edifício numa zona em que um imóvel vizinho foi vendido recentemente por 48 milhões de Dólares. E há mais.

Embaixada de Cabo Verde em NY

Embaixada de Cabo Verde em NY

“Revealed: New York multi-million dollar mansions belong to poorest nations on earth

Diplomats of poor nations rub shoulders with celebrities and billionaires at their embassies on Manhattan’s illustrious Upper East Side. Click the map for video and details of embassies and their countries’ wealth

New York’s Upper East Side is a neighbourhood of celebrities and millionaires – and home to some of the poorest countries on the planet.

An investigation by The Telegraph has found dozens of embassies, consuls, missions and ambassadorial residences, worth tens of millions of dollars, dotted along the rarefied streets of Manhattan’s wealthiest district.

They include a number owned by some of the most impoverished countries on the planet, including Congo, ranked in 186th place out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI), the annual report produced by the United Nations which assesses the wealth of populations around the world.

Others belong to nations struggling to cope with war and dictatorship, including Iraq and Myanmar.

And some are owned by middle-ranking countries economically, whose citizens may nonetheless question why their governments hold properties in the most sought-after quarter of one of the most expensive cities in the world. Greece, which has struggled with debt and recession since the 2008 financial crisis, falls into this category.

Diplomats from around the world are assigned to New York because Manhattan is home to the United Nations, meaning each nation is entitled to maintain an embassy – known as a mission – in the city.

But while more frugal nations occupy office buildings close to the UN, in Manhattan’s Midtown, others maintain lavish residences a 10-minute car ride away on the Upper East Side.

Many are tucked away on quiet cross streets between the millionaires’ rows of Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue and Park Avenue, where property prices for a town house run into the tens of millions of dollars.

A large number are close to Central Park and amenities such as the designer boutiques of Madison Avenue and Uptown’s most exclusive bars and restaurants.

Diplomats living on the Upper East Side, which runs between 59th Street and 96th Street, and Central Park and the East River, can expect to rub shoulders with celebrities including Madonna and Woody Allen, and the billionaires Michael Bloomberg and David Koch, the fourth richest person in America.

Amid concern in some countries, including the United Kingdom, about the cost of maintaining expensive overseas properties, a number of nations have sold off their Upper East Side mansions in recent years.

They include France, which this year divested itself of the ambassador’s residence, an apartment at 740 Park Avenue, known as the most expensive apartment building in New York, for $70 million (£43.8 million).

Ivory Coast and Senegal have also recently sold off property on the Upper East Side.

But a number continue to allow their diplomats to live in a style which the vast majority of their citizens could only dream of.

They include Congo, where average income is just over a dollar (62p) a day, and which owns a large town house on East 65th between Fifth and Madison Avenues.

A house across the street from Congo’s recently sold for $40 million (£25 million), which would make a not insignificant dent in its national debt of $6 billion (£3.76 billion).

The tiny nation of Cape Verde, which is ranked 123 in the HDI, owns a town house on East 69th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues; the neighbouring property was on the market in 2012 for $48 million (£30.1 million).

A third African country, Angola, possesses a town house on East 73rd Street, between Park and Lexington Avenues, where the house next door sold for $32.5 million (£20.3 million) in 2008.”

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