Friday, March 2, 2012

Copan is falling and so is the Cultural Patrimony...

We previously discussed the signing of a document that entirely violates the Honduran law in regard to the national cultural patrimony, and translated that document.

In the first post, we noted that Virgilio Paredes (appointed to head the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History by Myrna Castro during the waning days of the de facto regime of Roberto Micheletti) was curiously absent from accounts of the signing of the accord ceding to the Municipal government of the town of Copan Ruinas many aspects of the management of that World Heritage site. While referenced by title in the accord, he is not named either.

Some correspondents raised the idea that the Institute and its officers were not actually committed by this agreement; that it was executed as a kind of sop to the people of the town, angered by proposed loans of objects for exhibition in the US.

But we also have received another document, and this one demonstrates that, far from protesting the illegal accord that was signed by Porfirio Lobo Sosa's representation, Africo Madrid, the Institute's legal counsel already, on February 27, has begun to put it into action.

The letter-- on letterhead of the Institute of Anthropology and History-- is directed to the mayor of Copan Ruinas, Helmy Rene Giacoman. It is signed by Attorney Erlinda Lanza, General Secretary of the Institute, and is copied to the office of the director of the Institute.

Here's what it says:
Esteemed Mr. Mayor:

I inform you that I met with Maria Miranda, Jose Ramon Murillo and Omar Antonio Rios, finalizing the details of the Supervisory Commission for the transport of pieces to the University of Pennsylvania.

I was informed that the Commission proposed by the Municipal Mayoralty would be composed in the following manner:

1. Maria Miranda, Education District
2. Jose Ramon Murillo of the 2012 Committee
3. Omar Antonio Rios Head of the Municipal Tourism Unit
4. Ingmar Diaz 2012 Committee
5. Brenda Rivera Representative of the indigenous communities
6. Martha Emma Melendez member of the Municipal Council of Transparency who also will be the custodian designated for the transport of the pieces to the US

The said committee will have to be present for 5 or 6 days, eight hours daily in the building that the CRIA occupies for the packing of the pieces and they will be attended and instructed by the Institute technician Norman Martinez, Registrar of Cultural Properties.

We spoke about the points that are described in the Copan Ruinas 2012 agreement of the 26th of February and it was determined that on point 2, while the Ley Orgánica del IHAH is not reformed, the participation of the AMHON in the Consejo Directivo of the Institute, if the Consejo itself considers it, will be solely as an observer.

With respect to point 3, it was resolved that the same commission previously named will review the inventory and will be on the record that the Maya pieces are in each one of the sites.

With respect to point 4 the elaboration of a protocol on the part of the Institute was proposed that would regulate the presence of members of the Municipal Corporation so that they shall be present in the excavations, discovery, and exhibition so that they can attest to transparency while the lay and regulations of protection are reformed.

With respect to point 5, attached you will encounter Circular No. 412-G-2011 dated 13 December of 2012, directed to the commission of Finances of the National Congress through which IHAH presented what its position was with respect to the decree through which it is proposed that a percentage of the income of the Copan Archaeological Park should pass to the Municipal Mayoralty. [This document was not attached to the copy sent to us.]

Both point 5, as well as point 6 (sales of tickets outside the country) and 8 (reform of the Ley para la Proteccion del Patrimonio Cultural de la Nacion) will depend on the Sovereign National Congress of the Republic with actions carried out by this Municipality.

Point 7 will be completed with the nomination of the commission that at the beginning of this report was laid out, and in addition the University of Pennsylvania will send to you an invitation so that you will participate in the inauguration of the event as well as the costs of one person designated by this municipality so that he should be one of the custodians of the pieces, who will participate both in the transmission as well as the return of the same.

And finally point 9 are matters specific to the Municipal Mayoralty.

In the hope that this will be the beginning of a permanent conversation,


Attorney Erlinda Lanza.

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