Our cultural heritage is in a state of neglect, if not worse

Preserving its history should be an imperative for any nation and/or society. This entails not just memorizing past dates, but keeping all related evidence (tangible and intangible) available, so present and future generations can understand their origins and therefore, be prepared for the road ahead.

Two recent press articles indicate that Venezuela’s cultural heritage is currently abandoned and seriously endangered.

The May 5th frontpage of Caracas newspaper 2001 presented a sad image: official documents from the early 20th Century are damaged in the National Academy of History’s archives. The reason: Water leaks from an improvised refuge for people who lost their homes in floods more than a year and a half ago.

The Academy informed of this situation to the National Archives since last year. It got no response.

The day after, newspaper El Universal presented a equally troubling story. The last remaining steam locomotive in the country and the station known as “El Encanto” have been left forsaken, vulnerable to decay and vandalism. In 2009, a 6-million dollar plan was announced to restore the train and the station. Nothing happened.

The government has a twisted relationship with our history. They try their damnedest to adjust it to their ideological agenda, but they neglect keeping all related elements in good condition. From their bizarre cult of Bolivarianism to the whimsical changes to our flag and coat of arms - it’s no wonder this has been the most irrelevant Bicentennial celebration ever. There has not been a single positive event related to it worth mentioning, at least positively.

Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana once wrote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. The problem is how can we can study our history if we can’t even show concern about our heritage being destroyed.

It’s true that the stressful and uncertain present has made it difficult to look deeper into what previous generations did. But that’s no excuse for letting what’s left of history slide away into waste, into oblivion.

7 thoughts on “Our cultural heritage is in a state of neglect, if not worse

  1. Gustavo, great post.. the El Encanto piece hit home big time as this park was the subject of my University thesis (c.1994) one of the interesting findings during my research is that while building the “Gran ferrocarril De Venezuela” (late XIX century) the governments of the time kept running into delays and budget overruns and the train system that was finally built was just a fraction of what the original plan was, so not much has changed in Venezuela in the last 120 years or so when it comes to government projects!

    Now back to the topic, on my work I made a recomendation to turn the park into a tourist destination, including facilities for overnight stays, restaurants, pools, etc. Back then it look feasable and we even had the opportunity to present the work to the Ministry of Tourism, and yet almost 18 years later nothing has happened to the park, in fact if anything it has deteriorated even further.

  2. “They try their damnedest to adjust it to their ideological agenda..” is so true. Chavez has twisted Bolivar to make him the original Chavista. In reality Bolivar would have conquered Chavez and saved the region.

    Like the Taliban, Chavez has tried to destroy everything and everyone that does not support his philosophy. If history has to disappear and be re-written, then to hell with the old documents.

    Make electronic copies now.

  3. I would build a Chavez Museum were we would show all the lies, larceny, killing, mismanagement and the overall disaster that Venezuela has been under his regime. And I would make it compulsory to school children, from all over venezuela, to come and visit it at least once a year. So they learn the truth about this SOB.

  4. This monument will show the many accomplishments of Chavez, increasing the equipment of the military, calling George Bush the Devil and helping the Cuban people in their fight against western liberal democracy allowing them to set their own path as guided by Comrade Castro who safeguards the revolution.

    Chavez also every day causes more wealthy and middle class people to leave the country, which quickly improves inequality. Soon, only those who deserve wealth, through their service to Chavez-the embodiment of El Pueblo-will have vast sums of money in Venezuela.

    There will also be a wing dedicated to Chavez’s great anti-Yanqui anti-Imperialist victories, such as helping the brave leaders in Syria who hold on to power despite the vast majority of their population wanting to kill them! A true revolutionary even refuses to step down every last citizen hates their government, they fight every last demonstrator until they rule alone a country with a population of 1, and look satisfied upon the mountains of dead imperialist lapdogs they have vanquished. There can be pictures of all the right wing activists eliminated from this earth by Chavez and his good friends, from Neda Soltan, to the filthy islamist Zionists in Syria.

    Also his pioneering agricultural policies, turning exploited oppressed land into vast tracts of fallow Savannah, perfect for sustainable hunting and trapping by native peoples or big game hunting by Macho bolivarian heros.

  5. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. and it is also likely they are struggling with practical math.

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