An international group of activists, including Sprawl-Busters, has written to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Anan protesting the destruction of cultural heritage by U.S. big box retailers doing business in Mexico. Here is the text of the letter sent this week to Anan: “After several months of struggle against the construction of a Wal Mart outlet within the Archeological Zone of Teotihuacan, we have faced the opening of this store with great concern. This is the second time that destruction of important Mexican monuments and zones have been performed with the approval of government officials in Mexico and without a due intervention of UNESCO’s authorities. The underwriters of this document believe that ancient sacred sites and cultural icons are to be respected in full as a Human Right of the third generation. For this, we are promoting a boycott against the companies, Costco for having built on the 3200 year old Olmec site of Gualupita and been involved in the destruction of the Casino de la Selva cultural complex; and against Walmart for having built within zone C of the ancient city of Teotihuacan, destroying remnants found in an area of nearly 4 acres. However, as mentioned above, the companies are not the only responsible parties. Mexican officials, in particular President Vicente Fox, Minister Reyes Tamez, and Sarah Bermudez of Conaculta, as well as UNESCO’s authorities represented in the country are not fulfilling their duties to safeguard and protect the world’s Humankind Cultural Heritage found in this country. As you know, and has been recognized by the Office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations, the above mentioned destruction is a violation of human rights. We fear this could happen again in Mexico if the International Community does not take care of this Legacy. We urge you to intervene as the Secretary General of the United Nations to ask for the reparation of the damages to the World’s Heritage by these barbaric acts in Mexico. Acting in this way, would certainly also help to stop the destruction. Indeed, we want the United Nations to exert a correct and stern supervision to guarantee that no more damage is done to World Cultural Heritage by these or any other companies. A complaint against Mexican government officials to the UN”s Corrupt Practices Committee must be submitted. Hoping this information will generate an effective action on the part of the United Nations, we take, this opportunity to reiterate to you our highest consideration.” The letter was signed by: Jaime Lagunez, Cuernavca, Mexico; Alicia Dorantes, Frente C??vico pro Defensa del Casino de la Selva, National Award for Human Rights, Mendez Arceo, 2004; Charles P. Goff, Frente C??vico pro Defensa del Casino de la Selva, N.A. for H.R.,M.A, ’04; Adriana Hern??ndez, Frente C??vico pro Defensa del Casino de la Selva, , N.A. for H.R.,M.A, 04; Monica Rovelo, Frente C??vico pro Defensa del Casino de la Selva, , N.A .for H.R.,M.A. 04; Emanuel D’Herrera, Frente C??vico en Defensa del Valle de Teotihuacan; Emma Ortega, Lorenzo Trujillo, Frente C??vico en Defensa del Valle de Teotihuacan; Claudia Leyva, Frente C??vico en Defensa del Valle de Teotihuacan; Al Norman, Director of Sprawl-Busters; Adriana Luna Parra, Activist and ex-Legislator of Mexico; Dennis Brutus, Poet and Activist for International social causes; Isidro Cisneros, Committee for the diagnostics in Mexico of the United Nations Office of the High Commision for Human Rights.
For background on the Teotihuacan story, and the Casino de la Selva story, profiling the opposition to Costco and Wal-Mart, search this database by “Mexico.”