Tuesday, August 17, 2010

José Antonio Funes protests proposed move of National Archives

An open letter published today adds to the voices of concern raised about the proposal to move the National Archives from their present location. Addressed to Bernard Martinez, Secretary of Culture, Arts and Sports, it is written by the poet José Antonio Funes, who served as director of the National Library of Honduras from 2006 to 2007, and is a university faculty member. He writes:
By various means I have heard about the official communication No. OS-545-2010, in which you solicit from Sra. Rosa Maria Prats, Director of the National Gallery of Art, a space in that building to "store the National Archive, the Archive of Land Titles, and the Hall of Investigators and Analysts".

In the beginning I thought that this was a tasteless joke, or some crudeness of a functionary who could mix up one letter with another in the middle of the bureaucratic bustle. But unfortunately it was not that, your signature was there on the official letter, and, as can be seen, you continue defending the reckless content of that missive.

Sr. Minister, I don't know what idea you must have about how to treat a National Archive or what a National Gallery of Art concerns. But if it is analyzed with care it will be realized that they are two institutions that fulfill totally different functions. In what country has it been seen that a National Archive, where national and foreign investigators come, would be going to be tucked in a corner of a National Gallery of Art?

But, in addition to being absurd, your decision turns out to be from every point of view contrary to the Patrimonio Nacional-- which in your position of Minister you are the first named defender-- since it would be putting at grave risk the physical security of the former Presidential Palace by intending to convert it into the offices of the Secretariat; and, by the same step, to invade with papers and books the National Gallery of Art, would be invading a space that does not belong to the Secretariat of Culture, but rather to the University and the National Congress. That is to say, it would be incurring an abuse of power, another lamentable error that equally could one day bring you before the courts of the country.

Sr. Martinez, a Minister arrives at an institution, such as that which you direct, to construct, not to destroy; to defend the cultural patrimony of the country, not to trample on it at your whim. In these circumstances, I understand well the indignation of the ex-Minister of Culture Rodolfo Pastor Fasquelle because he worked hard to recover this building that today shelters the National Gallery of Art and to organize in the former Presidential Palace the Centro Documental de Investigaciones Históricas de Honduras (CDIHH). These achievements should be considered "of the State", since they serve to benefit the nation, to expand the opportunity to access the culture and the history of the country. There you have an example, to build with new bricks, rather than breaking the bricks of the works of others. No one has the right to destroy that which serves the Honduran people, and what you would do would be a misinterpretation, a betrayal of your office.

For the love that you might have for Honduras, don't continue the pseudofascist escalation that was let loose from the Ministry of Culture against the cultural patrimony of the country after the coup d'Etat of June 28 of last year, where over this institution flew sovereign the banners of awesome ignorance and corruption.

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