April 20, 2021

The defense of cultural heritage already has its 'lobbie' | Culture

The defense of cultural heritage already has its 'lobbie' | Culture

"We denounce the systematic breach by the State and the Autonomous Communities of state and regional laws in defense of Cultural Heritage." This is how the Manifesto of Boadilla, the first text that comes from citizenship to protect the Spanish historical and artistic legacy against the apathy of state, autonomous and local institutions. "We express the requirement that said organizations comply with their own legislation", ends the first of the 12 points signed by 29 groups of 9 autonomous communities.

The manifesto is "a way to empower a path that is very lonely", explains to the COUNTRY Alicia Torija, representative of Madrid Citizenship and Heritage, association from which the idea with SOS Monuments starts. "We ask for political will in the defense of heritage. Not the photo, but the constant commitment ", he claims.

The writing is a milestone in the sovereignty of all associations that lead the voices against the destruction of memory. "Now we have a speaker," explains Torija. Announce that they will create a National Federation of Associations in defense of heritage to act as interlocutor with administrations and that their reports and investigations are taken into account in the actions on the most precious and delicate goods.

It also touches a thorny issue: they want to participate in the reversal of the historical-artistic assets immaculate by the Church catholic to the situation prior to 1978. And they are concerned about the growing depopulation and gentrification of the interior Spain. They demand extraordinary measures "to avoid the loss of heritage, both in historic sites and in rural areas." So that this does not happen they bet by the creation of a template of "Guardians of monuments and agents of protection of the Patrimony", a more specific body and with greater endowment than the SEPRONA of the Civil Guard.

A 'lobbie' has been born

María Teresa Pérez Sánchez, of the Association of Friends of the Alcazaba (Almería), assures that it is important that the associations come together because heritage problems are very serious and similar throughout Spain. "Before the lobbies that endanger the heritage with speculative operations, such as Canalejas in Madrid, we unite to defend ourselves, "he explains. The child was born lobbie of the defense of the patrimony. "The administrations ignore the law and tend to ignore us. Our work is important for society and for heritage, "he adds.

The side of the convent most affected by the demolition.
The side of the convent most affected by the demolition.

The manifesto claims the Ministry of Culture – very limited in its powers of action – a much more active role in the fight against the plundering of the arts. That is why they demand greater participation in the promotion of public awareness of the defense of the legacy.

The associations work for a common good, without the support of the community, nor of the administrations, nor, of course, of the companies that undertake actions against the memory of the cities. They are so depoliticized (none of the signatories receive nominal subsidies) as they are helpless: all the Judicial actions that they initiate against the administrations are covered by their own budgets. They have accounts, as they say, "to walk around the house", with very low membership fees. Losing a case in the courts is the ruin of the association whose only interest is the defense of what belongs to everyone.

Defense of the common good

In that sense, Óscar Hilillo, from Málaga REC, believes that the manifesto is a way of giving society that the defense of heritage belongs to all of us. "Heritage is what we defend and those who do not defend it. It is a very hard work for the common good. With the manifesto we will create awareness in society. The work we do is not the one that belongs to us, but to the administrations, but they do not do it, "he says.

In the letter the associations clarify that the signed is a compendium of "the most serious and urgent concerns" of the defense of the heritage. And among them there is the need for "that the judiciary has a leading role in the defense of heritage when administrations raise actions that damage cultural property." They demand greater awareness from judges and prosecutors to control the legality of the patrimonial and urban policies. They request sensitivity and specialized training and ask for a specific office of Patrimony and Urbanism.

The associations remember that the Government has just signed the Faro Agreement, which requires the participation of citizens in the integration of heritage in the cities of the future. In this international mandate, political protection decision making is a key issue, not a vertical issue, although in Spain it is not practiced: "We are specialists in heritage and do not take us into account," says Torija. The Boadilla Manifesto, which is named after the Cultural Heritage and Society Days that were held in the palace of this Madrid town.


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