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Citizens Want to Expropriate Former Cinema

By Jesús Aguado

A group of Sanmiguelenses has requested an expropriation of the building that 20 years ago sheltered the Hermanos Aldama Cinema. The group told President Enrique Peña Nieto in a letter, that the building located on San Francisco 4, should be given to the city as a gift due to its important historical value. The former cinema is currently for sale.

Under the name of FACS (Wide and Civic Sanmiguelense Front), the group is made up of traditionalist Rubén Villasana and former city councilor Delfino Piña, among others. In October 2014, the group sent the letter to Peña Nieto and copies to Governor Miguel Márquez Márquez and Mayor Mauricio Trejo, expressing their concern that the future owners of the building can make inappropriate use of it. Villasana also commented that the group is afraid that the building could be sold, and the new owners could turn it into a hotel, a commercial center, a bar, or even a new Coppel. The group investigated and advised that the current price of the former cinema is 2.8 million dollars (close to 40 million pesos).

Concerns about potential misuse of the structure led the group to submit the letters to municipal, state, and federal authorities asking them to find a way to “buy the building or expropriate it,” and after that, hand it over to Sanmiguelenses to be used as an auditorium where cultural and artistic events can be held. “The loss of this building and seeing it turned it into something different from its place in the national history would be very lamentable for Mexico,” the letter points out.

According to Villasana, the presidency of the Mexican Republic replied to their letter, stating that the document was delivered to the Federal Secretariat of Public Education, “but that is not correct,” highlighted traditionalist Villasana, “because in that case, our letter should have been sent to the National Institute of Anthropology and History, which is in charge of historical buildings.” The group will now send a new document to President Peña Nieto, and the letter will now be accompanied with signatures from Sanmiguelenses who agree to the idea of preserving the historical building. The signatures will be collected physically on the streets. The state government, according to Villasana, delivered their letter to the local administration because, according to their letter, “it is not a state matter.”  The local administration has not responded to the petition.

Hermanos Aldama Cinema

This site of the Aldama Cinema was the home, for a time, of brothers Juan and Ignacio Aldama, who accompanied General Ignacio Allende y Unzaga in the Mexican Independence movement of 1810. Previously, city historian Graciela Cruz López told Atención, the Aldamas’ home met the same fate as all the properties belonging to the independence insurrectionists. “It was confiscated by the Spanish crown and later sold cheaply to the Spanish in the city.” López highlighted that the city’s historic archives from 1860 and earlier have been lost. No records are available regarding the property until the early 20th century.

Local writer and painter Maruja González commented that the house was owned by Don Antonio Vivero, a very rich man who died without a will. According to González, the building was sold in the early 1960′s by Mayor Antonio Gil and Governor Torres Landa to the cinema chain Montes, which obtained the permit to turn the building into a movie house.

The Aldama Cinema operated for almost 36 years until 1996, when the employees of the cinema, members of the Mexican Cinema Industry Union, began a strike to protest unpaid wages and layoffs. That strike forced the owners’ decision to close the cinema.

The building was sold at a federal public auction in January 2004, when it was bought by its current owners. In 2005 the building was valued at 3.2 million dollars.


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