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San Miguel´s appointment as World Heritage site is not at risk

By Antonio De Jesús Aguado

Francisco Vidargas, assistant manager of the World Heritage area of INAH (National Institute of Anthropology and History), assured that San Miguel’s appointment as a World Heritage site is not at risk due to the Coppel construction. He made it clear that what the society and local government needs is a dialogue and regulations for protecting the area.

Vidargas attended to the Second Conference of World Heritage San Miguel where he participated with a lecture. In an interview with Atención, Vidargas said that San Miguel has always had groups defending the heritage. The first official Commission of World Heritage was installed in the city in 1980 and there are still groups taking care of the city.

Vidargas made it clear that until now the city has not lost the values that led it to be named a UNESCO World Heritage site. He also said that the city must continue its development because such locations cannot be “dead cities.”

“Personally,” he said in addition, “I am not against the modern architecture in the historic centers of the cities, but it has to be of quality and must respect the regulations.” Nevertheless, he commented that to have a real respect of world heritage areas, society and government must work together.

On the matter of the Coppel store on calle Codo, Vidargas said that although the construction is not within the area of monuments protected by presidential decree, it is within the buffer area protected by UNESCO. For that reason, the topic needs an analysis. He emphasized that currently it is not possible to stop the construction, but INAH can regulate the height of the construction as well as the design of the facade. Besides, he added, “It is not a high impact construction.”

Vidargas noted that UNESCO has not paid attention to this topic in San Miguel de Allende because “it is a local issue” and it is not that delicate. For that reason, it needs to be solved by the local, state and federal government. He also remarked that there are no official complaints in his office about the Coppel case because “the official complaints must come from the government,” but he made it clear that it does not mean that citizens’ complaints are not important. Moreover, he insisted that citizens and the local government need to talk and find the best solution.

“The appointment of San Miguel as a World Heritage site is not at risk and UNESCO does not event know that these problems exist,” he highlighted, saying that the topic of  World Heritage is like a pendulum: “Sometimes it is ahead and sometimes it has to go back, but it depends on the sensibility that the authorities have about the topic.”


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