With more than 80,000 registered archaeological sites, “our country is the one that treasures, contains and is responsible, even before humanity, for the largest accumulation of tangible archaeological remains. But this responsibility is not accompanied by firm and wise budgetary resources that allow sustaining the requirements of this vast heritage.

are words of Jose Enrique Vidal Dzul Tuyubgeneral secretary of the National Union of Workers of the Ministry of Culture (SNTSC), which brings together multidisciplinary administrative, technical, manual and research workers in different sectors of said federal agency, especially in the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature (INBAL).

José Enrique Vidal Dzul Tuyub, general secretary of the National Union of Workers of the Ministry of Culture.

The conservation work of our heritage is a battle against multifactorial deterioration, perhaps impossible to eradicate but necessarily retardable, with causes such as climate conditions and anthropogenic damage, that is, direct or indirect deterioration due to human activity.

Mediatized examples of the constant risk to which our tangible ancestral wealth is subjected constantly sprout in the press. Many of these result in an alarm without major consequences, while some others do deteriorate, perhaps on a smaller scale, almost imperceptible but irreversible, the heritage wealth.

One more factor, adds the general secretary of the SNTSCis the “involution of working conditions” that exists in sectors such as INAH since 2000 with the uncontrolled increase in the hiring of temporary workers, or Chapter 3000, who have been hired under minimum labor guarantees, but who were gaining importance in substantive areas of the sector.

The interviewee appreciates that the problem is not the presence of the temporary personnel, also called “trusted”, but rather that for more than 20 years, the different administrations began to evade their obligation regarding the labor guarantees of the workers and it was realized an “increase of this model without having a budget ceiling, a situation that at the end of the road brought us to a deficit of around 1,000 million pesos per year in the INAH.”

The factors mentioned above, in addition to other day-to-day losses, “by virtue of what they call austerity,” lamented the interviewee, “are putting our cultural heritage at risk, although that risk is difficult to measure.”

Proposes increasing access to museums for foreigners, free for Mexicans

Due to the foregoing, it considers it necessary that as a union a linear dialogue be established with the heads of all areas of the sector to unify a voice that insists vertically, towards decision makers, on the need for concrete public policies that guarantee the care of the tangible heritage, the same of which, on repeated occasions, authorities have ruled out risks in the face of different mediated cases of transgression or reduction.

Before several legislatures and different benches, studies have been presented on the impact of heritage due to the lack of money, but proposals for improvement have also been shown, confirms the union leader. “Unfortunately, they have told us that they do find it interesting, but they have to process it. An opinion has never been presented.”

It raises some proposals that have been agreed with several members of the guild. In the first instance, it recovers a position that is not new: that the State reimburse INAH 100% of the self-generated fees for the entry of visitors to its archaeological zones and museums, so that the institute can take advantage of all its resources.

“In 2019 we got to be close to 800 million pesos of self-generated in our box offices. If those resources returned to 100%, they would give us pure oxygen to be able to consolidate our responsibilities”, he details.

In the same tenor, it proposes a rethinking of the entrance fee system in two ways: “the visit of our Mexican citizens must be deindexed”, that is, make it free, in order to guarantee the ordering of Article 4 of the Constitution on free access. to culture. On the other hand, for foreign visitors the price must increase, as a measure of harmonization with other heritage sites in the world.

“The foreigners themselves tell us that what we charge to access the spaces is a minimal amount, compared to the immensity of requirements. We have calculated that an income of 500 pesos for foreigners would be viable, which is nothing for them, in terms of how they visit their cultural spaces. This would generate even more resources.”

Currently, the quota in archaeological zones such as Teotihuacan either Chichen Itza It is about 80 pesos, which, he qualifies, “in addition to being meager, it does not return for the founding actions that we have in the archaeological zones.”

Annual budget increase

The second proposal of the interviewee is the increase of 4,000 million in the annual budget for the sector, which must be added to the little more than 15,028 million pesos available to Branch 48, Culture, for this 2022, so that the resources currently hoarded by the Chapultepec Forest Cultural Complex —a quarter— are irreducible. That increase of 4,000 million pesos, he even estimates, “is nothing compared to what we urgently need.”

Finally, the union leader reflects that to achieve these changes in public policies “it is necessary to appeal to the sensitivity of the President of the Republic, convince our government of the importance of our activity, because if the government does not want it, the legislation will be more complicated”.

In figures

  • 80,000 archaeological sites have been registered to date by the responsible authorities
  • 800 million pesos, the approximate amount of self-generated resources by archaeological zones and museums before the pandemic
  • 196 archaeological sites currently open to the public in Mexico
  • 15,028 million 490,017 pesos the Culture budget for 2022
  • 3,823 million 590,000 pesos the budget that monopolizes the Chapultepec Project this year
  • 4,000 million pesos, increase proposed by the general secretary of SNTSC for the annual budget

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