dorset chiapas solidarity

October 23, 2012

Illegal Works in the Archaeological Zone of Toniná, Chiapas, are denounced

Filed under: Archaeology / Maya, Tourism, Zapatista — Tags: — dorsetchiapassolidarity @ 5:20 pm



Illegal Works in the Archaeological Zone of Toniná, Chiapas, are denounced

** “For the personal benefit” of the former PAN mayor


** The authorities have not stopped the construction works
Residents of the Toniná area ask authorities to take more interest and not to permit the destruction of the national patrimony Foto: La Jornada** The authorities have not stopped the construction works


By: Hermann Bellinghausen

“The patrimony of humanity” is being destroyed in the archaeological zone of Toniná, Chiapas, for the benefit of private parties “because a tourist walkway is being constructed using heavy machinery, almost at the very bottom of the site, and on lands where many priceless remains have been found,” residents of the zone denounced, and pointed to the former municipal president and PAN member Arturo Zúñiga Urbina as the constructor, who “benefited himself”, while being mayor, by doing the work on his own land and on land owned by his associates Ciro Espinosa and Armando Cruz Mena. He did all this without the support of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, INAH) or the Archaeology Council, who have however not stopped the work.

In recent days, following an anonymous complaint, presumably from a tourist, “a commission from the Archaeology Council visited the place to evaluate the damage”. Nevertheless, “it has not been observed that the work that Albores Constructions, owned by the engineer Manuel Albores Cruz, is carrying out has been suspended,” adds a testimony delivered to La Jornada.

The zone’s residents demand that: “the competent authorities take more interest and do not permit the destruction of the national patrimony.” The new mayor of Ocosingo, Octavio Albores Cruz, a PVEM member, has not intervened in the issue either and it is feared that he may have private interests in the matter, which occurs on the eve of the profitable and imminent Maya “end of the world.”


“What is most serious is that all this is happening with the full knowledge of the archaeologist in charge of the zone’s excavations, Juan Yadeum Angulo”, continue the accusers. “The project in question is financed by the ex-municipal president Zúñiga Urbina, who, supported by a tourist lodge project on his land, is currently completing an access road, in coordination with other property owners bordering the archaeological zone, to its detriment.”

Alfonso Cruz, one of the neighbours in opposition, and an EZLN support base, when consulted emphasizes that “the remains of mounds that are being affected by the work” are visible, and he affirms that a bridge is being constructed “using material from the archaeological monument” of Toniná. The other pieces of land where they are attempting to construct tourist infrastructure, with damage to the archaeological patrimony, are the El Cayab ecotourist center, and the property of Espinosa and Cruz Meza, mentioned earlier.

Alfonso Cruz, who lives on the outskirts of the archaeological site, comments that the Archaeological Council withdrew an official vehicle from Yadeum Angulo, apparently as a punishment for allowing these works [to take place], “but the construction work did not stop”. Meanwhile, the INAH delegate in Chiapas, Emiliano Gallaga, has not intervened either in this extremely unclear case which is affecting pre-Hispanic burials inside one of the state’s most important Maya sites.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, October 21, 2012

En español:






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