One year later, Carrington Museum’s stones remain unplaced
It constitutes a crime that could be sanctioned with dismissals, fines and even imprisonment
By Xochiquetzal Rangel
A year has passed since the Secretariat of Urban Development, Housing and Public Works (Seduvop) of the state government opened a hole in the side wall of the San Luis Potosí’s Centro de las Artes for the construction of the Leonora Carrington Museum. Although the museum opened last march, the opening of the wall has not been closed for four months, even though Juan Carlos Machinena, delegate of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in San Luis Potosí, assured in 2017 that the wall would be rebuilt stone by stone when the project was finished.
The intervention of the wall began in July 2017, when Seduvop personnel manually removed the 948 stones from the wall. According to the cultural authorities and those responsible for the work, the movement was decided not to cause major damage to the building and other structures within the museum, such as the main entrance, the first courtyard of the former jail, now the Centro de las Artes and access modifications of the Leonora Carrington Museum.
The stones, once they were removed, as declared by Juan Carlos Machinena, would be duly enumerated and sheltered at the Centro de las Artes, “There is no destruction of the wall, the stones are properly protected, numbered and once the project is finished, there are other parts that are from the 20th century and had to be withdrawn in order to develop the same project “.
However, the photographs that accompany this report show that perhaps the stones were not properly protected.
The remodeling of the old processing area of the former jail started without the necessary permits: on the one hand, the City Hall of San Luis Potosí was about to suspend the work, since the Municipal Urban Development Directorate was not aware of the modifications that would be done, so he did not issue any corresponding permission to be able to execute actions such as the hole in the wall of the cultural enclosure, by the República street.
On the other hand, there was also no authorization from the National Institute of Anthropology and History for the dismantling of the wall, and it was not until the media made evident the cultural violation that was taking place, when the INAH verbally issued the authorization. .
According to the resolution with official letter number 401-8124-D1198 / 17 of the INAH liaison unit, “the Institute was verbally warned of the need to open a temporary access (…) so this dependency, through joint supervision on the place, verbally established the technical procedure to follow for opening a temporary access vane. (…) In conclusion, this Institute categorically denies that the destruction of any historical element of the old penitentiary of San Luis Potosí has been authorized. (…) We establish that the responsible and executing agencies must assume the commitment to reintegrate the pieces of the wall removed”.
Due to these irregularities, the execution of the museum by the holders of the Ministry of Culture of San Luis Potosí, Centro de las Artes, Delegation of INAH in the state and Seduvop, have incurred in violations of the Federal Law of Monuments and Archaeological, Artistic and Historical areas, since the old penitentiary is a property catalogued by the INAH for its historical quality, for being built in the nineteenth century.
According to another resolution of August 16th, with the official number 40.12C.6.2017 / 3446 of the transparency unit of the INAH, there is no file in which the written permission, needed for the demolition, has been granted. Although the Federal Law of Monuments and Archaeological, Artistic and Historical Zones stipulates that the works carried out in historical monuments must have prior authorization from the Institute, which is done through the authorization form INAH – 00- 008 , which takes 10 business days to be answered.
“ARTICLE 42.- All work in an area or monument, including the placement of advertisements, notices, posters, templates, diverse installations or any other, may only be made with prior authorization granted by the corresponding Institute, for which the interested party must submit a application with the following requirements: I.- Name and address of the applicant: II.- Name and address of the person responsible for the work; III.- Name and address of the owner; IV.- Characteristics, plans and specifications of the work to be carried out; V.- Plans, description and photographs of the current status of the monument and, in the case of being real, its adjoining; VI.- Its acceptance for the carrying out of inspections by the competent Institute; and VII.- In the opinion of the competent Institute, it must grant a bond guaranteeing satisfaction of the payment for damages that the monument may suffer”.
Article 47 of the Federal Law of Monuments and Archaeological, Artistic and Historical Zones establishes that the person responsible for the execution of the work will be interposed from three to ten years in prison and a thousand to three thousand days of a fine, “whoever makes material works of archaeological exploration, by excavation, removal or by any other means, in real archaeological monuments, or in areas of archaeological monuments, without the authorization of the National Institute of Anthropology and History, will be imposed prison for three to ten years and for thousand to three thousand days fine. Whoever orders, induces, directs, organizes or finances the behaviors described in this article, the penalties indicated above will be increased by up to one-third”.
José Manuel Hermosillo Vallarta, lawyer specializing in cultural issues, considered that the modification to the wall of the Centro de las Artes of San Luis Potosí is a direct violation of the patrimony, so the sanctions should fall on all the people who were involved in the decision of the opening of the wall.
“It is clear that there has been no prudence and professionalism to perform this work, but even worse is that they have damaged the heritage to give entry to another type of artist, that is the delicate thing, is that they are also violating copyright and property rights, intellectual rights of the architect, of the person who built the property, and it would be good to say that the government gave entrance to an artist, violating the rights of another artist”, he said.
The General Law of Cultural Rights, through article 11, section VIII, establishes that all the inhabitants of Mexico will enjoy “the protection by the Mexican State of the moral and patrimonial interests that correspond to them by reason of their intellectual property rights, as well as the artistic, literary or cultural productions of which they are authors, in accordance with the applicable legislation in the matter; the plastic and sculptural work of the creators will be protected and recognized exclusively under the terms of the Federal Copyright Law”.
Due the violation of cultural rights and cultural heritage, Hermosillo Vallarta, said that there must be a repair of the damage, such as the reconstruction of the wall that should not have happened and that the authorities involved should give an explanation about the action in which they damaged the heritage.
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