A report that says the Alamo and other Spanish missions in San Antonio, Texas, would be added to the United Nations’ World Heritage List, prompted reports saying the global body is set to take over the iconic landmark. Those reports went viral, and, KWTX reported Wednesday, prompted action by Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.
On Tuesday, Infowars reported that “Mayor Julián Castro is currently negotiating with the United Nations to designate the Alamo as a UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, meaning that a blue UN flag may fly above the historic shrine of liberty once it falls under UN control.”
Infowars said the designation would mean that bureaucrats from France or China could be involved in the site’s management and the chapel would be “adorned with UN symbols.”
“A UN flag may even be hoisted above the Alamo, which is typical at World Heritage Sites such as the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Illinois,” Kit Daniels wrote.
Patterson, however, disagrees with the speculation that has spread over the Internet.
“Horse hockey,” he said in a press release on Wednesday.
Patterson said the UN designation would not have any effect on authority or ownership of any of the landmarks being considered — including the Alamo, where 189 defenders died fighting for freedom from Mexican dictator Santa Ana in 1836.
“Some folks might think that getting on this list means the U.N. has some sort of influence at the Alamo. Those folks must not be from around here,” Patterson said in a statement. “The people of Texas own the Alamo now and in the future. Nothing is going to change that.”
“My legal team at the Land Office has reviewed this. I have personally met with the National Park Service staff working on this nomination and I am absolutely satisfied that a World Heritage Nomination will have no effect on the Alamo other than a possible increase in foreign tourists,” he added.
A post at MySanAntonio.com said that Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, a leading proponent of the UN designation, dismissed the rumors as “scare tactics” driven by politics, observing that the Statue of Liberty is also listed.
Worldwide, 981 “properties” are on the UN list, including Independence Hall, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park.
The United Nations says that while the site is owned by the country on whose territory it is located, “it is considered in the interest of the international community to protect the site for future generations. Its protection and preservation becomes a concern of the international World Heritage community as a whole.”
The global body, however, also says that “World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located.” That statement alone would seem to fly in the face of Patterson’s comment. Given that definition, it’s easy to understand why some would say designating the Alamo would put the historic site in the hands of global bureaucrats.
Concerns over the designation are nothing new. MySanAntonio.com added:
For more than a year, local officials have addressed similar concerns that the state, which owns the Alamo, might lose its control of the site. Suzanne Scott, general manager of the San Antonio River Authority, which is assisting with the nomination, said in August 2012 that the status is simply “a prestigious designation” that will provide economic and cultural benefits.
Patterson compared the designation to being listed as a “National Historic Landmark.”
“Just because the Alamo is a National Historic Landmark does not mean the federal government owns the Alamo,” he said. “It’s a tourism designation indicating it’s a place of historic significance. That is all. Same goes for the World Heritage List.”
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