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Bubba

Feb 8, 2007, 8:10 AM

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San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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Our architects in San Cristóbal de Las Casas tell us that that city´s historic center was turned down for UNESCO World Heritage Site status because the city has allowed itself to be surrounded by slums populated by religious refugees displaced from surrounding indigenous communities. These unsightly communities of the poor, "favelas", really, do, in fact constitute a visual blight to the observer but the reasoning seems strange to me.

First of all, these refugee communities have arisen because the surrounding indigenous communities have expelled people for religious/political reasons and these indigent communities sprang up on the edges of San Cristóbal where many members of the communities eke out a living selling dulces or artisanal works. These communities cannot be leveled unless one initiating their removal is both callous and incredibly stupid. Indigenous people in Chiapas are not shrinking violets. These communities are going to be there for the foreseeable future and their existence does not reflect on the historic center itself.

Historic centers in Oaxaca, Zacatecas, Morelia and Puebla have all been designated world heritage sites and I have had the pleasure of visiting all of these sites except Zacatecas. However, all of these sites are also surrounded by ugly, poverty stricken urban conurbations strung together semmingly at random. Methinks there is an unseen agenda here.

I don´t really care but find it interesting. The people of San Cristóbal will honor their heritage without pandering to some United Nations functionaries. I can tell you,as one who is remodeling a house in the historic center, that the architectural restrictions are strict and meticulously honored.



caroljruby

Feb 8, 2007, 5:37 PM

Post #2 of 24 (7318 views)

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Re: [Bubba] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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Bubba, When did all these religious conversions happen? When were these Indigenas kicked out of their communities? I was in San Cristobal in 1993 and I don't remember seeing any "favelas" on the outskirts of the city then. Carol


sfmacaws


Feb 8, 2007, 6:20 PM

Post #3 of 24 (7311 views)

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Re: [caroljruby] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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They happened when all these POS protestant missionaries came down to save the indigenous, converted them with free food and medical care and then told them that all of their beliefs and traditions were the work of the devil and not allowed, including even talking to their neighbors and friends who had not been taken in by the born again freaks. Yes, I think they are freaks and I think they are criminal in their intent. Unfortunately, I also think it is too late for a peaceful settlement in the area. The missionaries have made beggars of their converts, I hope they are proud. I think they should be strung up.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




caroljruby

Feb 8, 2007, 6:39 PM

Post #4 of 24 (7303 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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I agree with you. Carol


Bubba

Feb 8, 2007, 7:30 PM

Post #5 of 24 (7287 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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They happened when all these POS protestant missionaries came down to save the indigenous, converted them with free food and medical care and then told them that all of their beliefs and traditions were the work of the devil and not allowed, including even talking to their neighbors and friends who had not been taken in by the born again freaks. Yes, I think they are freaks and I think they are criminal in their intent. Unfortunately, I also think it is too late for a peaceful settlement in the area. The missionaries have made beggars of their converts, I hope they are proud. I think they should be strung up.

Gosh, Jonna,

"strung up"?

Even George Bush - the Anti-Christ false redeemer?

Reverend Bubba of theTrue Church of the Holy Lap Dance






sfmacaws


Feb 8, 2007, 7:49 PM

Post #6 of 24 (7280 views)

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Re: [Bubba] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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Well, I believe that you get the government that you deserve. GWB is our penance.

My mother told me too that you should never talk about religion but in the case of these poisonous missionaries in all of southern Mexico and Central America, I think that hiding this disgrace under the rug is a very bad idea. Many of them did come originally from the US and maybe Canada too. They came down here claiming good works and the damage they have done is irreparable. They are 7th Day Adventists, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, Methodists and a slew of other pentacostal religions with names like Rock My Jesus in the Blood of Dead Sheep, Holy Roll me over the River, or the Temple of Mary is not a saint and all Catholics will burn in Hell.

They are highly competitive with each other, they are fighting over these poor people and they are pulling them off their land where they had at least a chance of feeding their families and planting them as outcasts around their missions which makes the mission look very busy and thus very needy of more money from the good christians back in Alabama and Kansas, Oklahoma and Salt Lake City.

It is a plague and we are as responsible for it as we are for the war in Iraq and the war on the Mexican border. Yet, you see all these complaints about those but not much about this other assault. It is no different than the Spanish Conquest and the forced conversion of the indigenous in the New World. We converted many of them with fire water and small pox and this is as damaging and destructive as any of those other invasions. We need to get these soldiers of jesus back home before they destroy any more cultures.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




caroljruby

Feb 8, 2007, 8:13 PM

Post #7 of 24 (7273 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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Amen, Carol


esperanza

Feb 8, 2007, 9:14 PM

Post #8 of 24 (7266 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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What she said. Exactly what she said.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









bournemouth

Feb 9, 2007, 6:18 AM

Post #9 of 24 (7251 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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I'll always remember hearing a former missionary on a PBS program in the late 80's refer to proselytizing as a form of spiritual rape - couldn't agree more. It is the height of arrogance to go to countries like Mexico, with a predominant faith, and tell people that their faith is wrong and that the missionaries have the true faith. In the south of Mexico we are seeing the results of such work.


Bubba

Feb 9, 2007, 6:28 AM

Post #10 of 24 (7250 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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Well said, Jonna but a losing battle.

Southern Presbyterian conversation in Mobile, Alabama over Early Times on the rocks half way through the bottle maybe 20 years ago:

Bubba´s Sister: Well, ah know who´s going to heaven and who´s going to hell in this family.
Bubba: And who, pray tell, is destined for the eternal fire pit and a trillion years of gnashing of the teeth?
Bubba´s Sister: Nevah mind.
Bubba: Your certitude in anticipating the eternal damnation of your flesh and blood seems to give you an inordinate amount of pleasure.
Bubba´s Sister: Nevah mind.

Don´t ever lose track of the fact that the death of Anna Nicol Smith, which is taking up all of the time allocated to news on CNN and MSNBC this morning, is far more important to U.S. audiences, the saviors of the world, than the misery of a bunch of hillbillies from a state in Southern Mexico they never even heard of who were were off to the fire pit if it weren´t for the self-sacrifice of those missionaries.


(This post was edited by Bubba on Feb 9, 2007, 9:10 AM)


sfmacaws


Feb 9, 2007, 8:59 AM

Post #11 of 24 (7242 views)

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Re: [Bubba] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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Nevah mind



(I need to just channel your sister Bubba - I'm sure the Early Times helps.)


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




jacpowell

Feb 20, 2007, 10:18 AM

Post #12 of 24 (7154 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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I'm a little late weighing in on this topic - but I think the best way to find out the facts about the denial of World Heritage status would be to go to the UN webpage for that program and search for the application and response. If you think about it, the center of San C is not all that impressive architecturally, regardless of the favelas. Have San C in one hand, and run past it the other Colonial cities in Mexico, and see which of those have more architectural integrity. I'm talking HISTORICAL integrity - old buildings with interesting design details. Perhaps this is due to earthquakes. Perhaps it is due to a lack of "monumental" architecture.

This is not to say that San Cristobal is not charming, especially to folks from cities full of glass-curtained reflective buildings. But charm doesn't necessarily merit World Heritage status.


caroljruby

Feb 23, 2007, 6:13 PM

Post #13 of 24 (7060 views)

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Re: [jacpowell] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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Just curious. In your opinion, which colonial cities in Mexico have "more architectural integrity" than San Cristobal?


jacpowell

Feb 26, 2007, 9:47 AM

Post #14 of 24 (7010 views)

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Re: [caroljruby] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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The buildings around the main plaza in Morelia, also much of Guanajuato, the Queretaro centro historico, perhaps San Miguel d. A. are ones I remember offhand. Not only do they have integrity, if I remember correctly, they also have architectural details that many of San Cristobal's buildings lack. I'm thinking back about this - don't have any real evidence at hand. It does seem that S.C. has been wracked by floods and earthquakes that could have ruined some of the buildings. It will be interesting to hear more from Bubba on this topic - apparently he's consulting someone about it.

Jackie


Gringal

Feb 26, 2007, 11:31 AM

Post #15 of 24 (7000 views)

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Re: [jacpowell] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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San Miguel de Allende has applied for this designation, but I don't believe they have yet obtained it.


Bubba

Mar 1, 2007, 9:00 AM

Post #16 of 24 (6946 views)

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Re: [jacpowell] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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The early colonial houses were very austere witout much details. It may be what you remember. It is the way the Spaniards built them and they have not changed so they have plenty of architectural integrity.The Santo Domingo convent is spectacular , it is being repainted an it is something to see.
The lower barrios were damaged by floods and fixed up on a regular basis before a big tunnel was built to remedy the problem. We have friends who have a magnificent 300 year old home in one of these barrios so everything was not destroyed. As to earthquakes, you may be thinking of Antigua de Guatemala. San Cristobal has earthquakes but was not destroyed by them.
Anyway the poles are being burried as we speak and we are all happy about it. Next will be convincing the business to use the approved signage, hat may take a little longer.
Brigitte


jerezano

Mar 2, 2007, 8:05 PM

Post #17 of 24 (6901 views)

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Re: [Bubba] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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Hello,

Bubba, in your original post you said: >>Historic centers in Oaxaca, Zacatecas, Morelia and Puebla have all been designated world heritage sites and I have had the pleasure of visiting all of these sites except Zacatecas.<<

Also later on one of our fellow posters asked which cities are architectually more exciting than San Miguel de Allende.

To answer that statement and that question, as a nearby resident of Zacatecas, let me suggest two things.

Bubba, I have visited all the places you mention as World Heritage Sites but you have visited a lot more other places here in Mexico than I have. But you need to visit Zacatecas City. One of the things which most people do not know is that during the Silver apogee here in Mexico, Zacatecas was the most important city in the whole country. Even more important than Mexico City. I'm not sure, but I believe at that time it was even larger. So the central district was built by MONEY and at a time when the Spanish conquistador austere influence had long flown. Zacatecas City has long been designated as a Patrimonio de la Humanidad by UNESCO. And the Central District has been preserved and restored and now that the utility poles and lines have all been buried it is really beautiful. Even the decade old conversion of the old Plaza de Toros into a 5 Star hotel where the Presidential Suite was renting ten years ago at $1,000 us dollars a night has been done with taste and attention to detail and in conformance with strict building codes to preserve the city's human heritage designation. I could mention many other instances.

But come and see us. See the 6 or 7 world-class museums and attend some of the cultural events which the city has been sponsoring. Remember to bring a sweater as the city is at about 8,000 feet and tends to be cold at night. Come now in the Springtime.

As for San Miguel de Allende the architecture of the churches is magnificent. The mansions are few and far between and as Bubba points out austere. The difference is that San Miguel was a guard post on the Silver route from the mines at Zacatecas City, Veta Grande, Fresnillo, Sombrerete, Bolaños, Guanajuato etc. while Zacatecas, Veta Grande, Sombrerete, Guanajuato were the sources of all that silver. Royal Mints were established here in Zacatecas City, Sombrerete, and Bolaños to convert all that silver into transportable coins.

Now with all that said, I wouldn't live in Zacatecas City. The altitude is too high and it is built in a canyon not quite so constricted as Guanajuato, but close. Us old geezers need to take physical limitations into consideration.

Zacatecas has not really been on the Gringo tourist routes until just recently. But it has been on the Mexican tourist routes for years. Lots of good hotels and restaurants. Lots to see and do.

Adiós. jerezano.


(This post was edited by jerezano on Mar 2, 2007, 8:06 PM)


hopalog


Mar 3, 2007, 6:15 AM

Post #18 of 24 (6887 views)

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Re: [jerezano] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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Everyone goes on and on and on about how gorgeous Zacatecas is and finally after a year of it, we went to see for ourselves, expecting to be dissapointed. We spent 3 weeks there and fell in LOVE with the city. A wonderful time to go is in July, during the International Folkloric Festival. For a large city, it is simply gorgeous.

Hell's Half Acre

Flickrlicious


Bubba

Mar 3, 2007, 12:37 PM

Post #19 of 24 (6867 views)

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Re: [jerezano] San Crist󢡬 and World Heritage Status

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Jerezano:

We plan to visiti Zacatecas this summer on our way to Texas to legalize our pickup and are looking forward to it. Maybe we´ll swing by Jerez and buy you a beer or whatever.


(This post was edited by Bubba on Mar 3, 2007, 12:39 PM)


caroljruby

Mar 3, 2007, 5:55 PM

Post #20 of 24 (6843 views)

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Re: [jerezano] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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After Guanajuato and San Miguel in January, Morelia and Patzcuaro in February, San Cristobal in April and Taxco, D.F. and Puebla in June ---well, I'm heading for Zacatecas. It sounds fabulous! Carol


song_of_joy

Mar 4, 2007, 9:06 PM

Post #21 of 24 (6810 views)

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Re: [caroljruby] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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It really is.


Bubba

Mar 7, 2007, 8:01 AM

Post #22 of 24 (6758 views)

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Re: [jerezano] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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Bubba, I have visited all the places you mention as World Heritage Sites but you have visited a lot more other places here in Mexico than I have. But you need to visit Zacatecas City. One of the things which most people do not know is that during the Silver apogee here in Mexico, Zacatecas was the most important city in the whole country. Even more important than Mexico City. I'm not sure, but I believe at that time it was even larger. So the central district was built by MONEY and at a time when the Spanish conquistador austere influence had long flown.

Jerezano,

Well said. Your comments in their entirety gave me pause. Why is it that, in all of our searching for the Mexico of our dreams, did we pick an essentially provincial backwater such as San Cristóbal de Las Casas (other than the romantic name) as a place for a second home? After all, Oaxaca City is not only splendid in its historical center but has a lively cultural presence. San Luis Pótosi is attractive and sits in a beautiful high desert. Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende are quite pleasing. Veracruz State has many charms from the fascinating city of Veracruz to such places as Fortin de La Flores and the "Tuxtlas" , Tlacotalpan and Lake Catemaco. Now that we have overcome the burden (hopefully) of language incompetence that induced us to settle at Lake Chapala, we can go anywhere we please so why this colonial center surrounded by unattractive slums?

Keep in mind that San Cristóbal was, until the recent opening of the autopista from Tuxtla Gutierrez, an inaccessible backwater with little significance since the break with Guatemala and loss of the state capital to Tuxtla - until then, nothing more than a stage crossing in the hot Chiapas central valley. The inaccessibilty of San Cristóbal and its marginal commercial importance are the very factors that, today, present us with its languishing charm. It is what it is because it was not. Crass developers did not destroy San Cristóbal as they did historic Guadalajara because there was no commercial gain to be had. Therefore, there it sits with its rusted mansions and provincial charms and ordinary people such as we can participate and buy a presentable shack within two blocks of the indigenous market and in fifteen minutes drive into Zapatista strongholds in the surrounding mountains and more-or-less entertain ourselves in our last years hereabouts and I don´t see that happening as we walk among the ostentatious mansions of the criminal Zacatecas mining barons of old which may visually please us but not in a participatory manner. San Cristóbal allows us to live in the dream not simply stare at it as we would the sarcophagus of a pharaoh.

There you have it.


Gringal

Mar 7, 2007, 8:23 AM

Post #23 of 24 (6753 views)

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Re: [Bubba] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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That was a very nicely written piece. There lives an impulse in many of us to "get away from it all". We try. Once upon a time, I settled in a sleepy Sonoma country town known as the "Buckle of the Prune Belt" with little to recommend it but pleasant scenery and a flowing river below my door (far below), a cute hippie bistro nearby and a village square so soporific that it was mainly populated with off-work Mexican field workers carrying bottle-shaped paper bags. The one movie theatre played English movies on two days a week; the rest were Spanish language films. There was one Chinese restaurant with dust on the lanterns and one Italian deli with a few tables. I absolutely loved it.

Then came the visionaries and developers. Now it is the Chi-Chi center of Whine Country. The transformation came unexpectedly, at warp speed.

What you love about your new home is transitory. Enjoy it while it lasts. May you be Forever Young.


Bubba

Mar 7, 2007, 8:39 AM

Post #24 of 24 (6748 views)

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Re: [Gringal] San Cristóbal and World Heritage Status

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Ah, Gringal, I do believe you speak of Healdsburg. I shan´t make light of your dream since I used to live in nearby Geyserville. We probably met each other in the 70s at Camp Rose. I hope we weren´t indiscreet.

Now, all of you keep in mind what Gringal says. You will not find your dream in Southern Mexico or anywhere else because you are too jaded unless you have suffered a permanent brain cramp as had we Sonomans of old. I have only lived in Chiapas for a couple of months but have noticed that you cannot buy good mayonnaise there and they put ketchup on their pizza and every time I leave and come back to Lake Chapala I have an intestinal disorder I have come to call Chiapas Chipi-Chipi or The Revenge.


(This post was edited by Bubba on Mar 7, 2007, 8:59 AM)
 
 
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