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Friday, September 22, 2023

It still trembles… – El Financiero

I am borrowing a title that comes from terrible accounts of the consequences of our earthquakes, whose dramatic dimension and destructive capacity for too many families and populations is not an exaggeration to describe as immeasurable.

The only thing worse after these misfortunes is authorities minimizing them, or lying about them. So be it in the reconstruction stage. As President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History, Diego Prieto, do now.

Within the framework of the fifth Government Report, AMLO issued the traditional spots advertising (as if he needed more propaganda, but there are legacies of the terrible past that do not seem aberrant to him). In one of them, he concluded the reconstruction of the damage from the 2017 earthquake.

This was stated in August The Day: “Through the official account of the social network , damaged by the 2017 and 2018 earthquakes in 10 states’. In the video message, López Obrador, who tours the gardens of the National Palace, points out: ‘We are very advanced in the construction of works due to the damage caused by the earthquakes. Homes, hospitals, schools, historic buildings such as the Palacio de Cortés with Diego’s murals, the Temple of Santo Domingo in San Cristóbal, and listen to the bells of the Cathedral that was also rehabilitated. For the good of all, the poor first.’”

Has the reconstruction finished? Or, at least, very little missing? Is what remains less? Thelma Gómez Durán and Carmen García Bermejo answer that in a three-part investigation published in Quinto Elemento with the title: Heritage in ruins.

When reviewing what has happened with the attention to the affected cultural heritage, they state that after the terrible earthquake of 2017 the authorities cared about “attending to the properties with minor damages that required less work, time and money, to present, thus, figures that would allow the impression that there is significant progress in the restoration tasks. “Those numbers are misleading.”

And when the INAH boasts progress of more than 65 percent, the reality is that “more than 600 properties have not yet been completed or have not even been attended to; Of them, at least 250 have such severe damage that their existence is compromised.”

After dozens and dozens of requests for information, field work and calling localities with damaged properties, they report that “a review on site and via telephone from the state that keeps a small sample of 80 properties reported as ‘completed’ or in ‘process’, it was found that two out of every three of them are abandoned: progress has been made in dribs and drabs or the work never started.”

Gómez and García conclude that “60 percent of the properties with severe damage have not been completed.” They give this example: among those that suffered great destruction there are nine of the 15 monuments declared by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, popularly known as the Route of the Convents (in the center of the country). Of those, only three have been restored.

In a final straw that will surprise few, the authors also reveal that among the companies hired by the INAH to rebuild there are too many with interests unrelated to heritage and even one dedicated to the representation of artists.

Six years later, many towns still tremble with their heritage in ruins. And of the families who lost their homes, not to mention. Ah, but the spot The report was amazing. Even bells could be heard.

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