June 23, 2020

Funding cuts threaten ancient sites, warn Mexican archaeologists
Sharp reduction in heritage body’s budget is part of wider savings due to Covid-19 costsThe Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador has often boasted of the strength and longevity of Mexican culture and learning, once saying that “when buffalo were still grazing in what is now New York, there were already universities and printing presses in Mexico”.But archaeologists fear that a recent wave of swingeing budget cuts will decimate research into the country’s pre-Columbian past, and leave thousands of ancient sites – including Aztec temples and Mayan cities – at the mercy of looters.More than 6,000 scholars recently signed a letter begging the president, commonly referred to as Amlo, to reconsider a 75% cut to the operating budget of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).“These draconian cuts will have an inevitable impact on our heritage, and on the training of new anthropologists, historians and conservationists,” said Leonardo López Luján, one of Mexico’s leading archaeologists.“If this policy isn’t reversed soon, we’ll be sacrificing our past and our future.”The cutbacks to INAH – a 700m pesos ($32m, £25m) reduction in 2020 – form part of a broader cost-cutting drive announced in April. Mexico’s 182 nature reserves and the search for the country’s 60,000 missing people will also be affected.López Obrador insists that resources need to be directed towards Mexico’s hard-pressed hospitals as the Coronavirus pandemic worsens. Mexico’s official death toll is more than 20,000 and confirmed cases exceed 170,000; few doubt that the real figures are much higher.But critics question the need to inflict a further round of austerity on a field that was already struggling to survive.INAH is responsible for preserving 193 heritage sites open to the public, 53,000 closed archaeological sites, 162 museums, 120,000 monuments, dozens of libraries and archives and three schools, López Luján explained.Its budget was cut by a fifth last year, and hundreds of workers were fired. As cartel-related violence grows, archaeologists at remote field sites increasingly report threats and violence.The latest round of cuts to INAH would make Mexico’s flagship heritage body “completely inoperative” for years to come, said López. “We’ll go into hibernation mode.”“It will be a tough road ahead,” agreed Diana Moreiras, an anthropologist at the University of British Columbia. “We have such a rich cultural heritage and as Mexicans we all gain from its protection, conservation and research.”Moreiras said she was sympathetic to the need to make sacrifices, and government officials have promised – so far without details – that the core functions of INAH will be maintained.But the rationale for such deep cutbacks is unclear as López Obrador presses ahead with expensive projects of dubious value, including revamped Oil refineries and the “Tren Maya,” a sprawling tropical railroad that critics claim will trample indigenous communities and archaeological material in its path.Macario Schettino, an economist, described plans to cut government spending by up to a third across the board – except for the health ministry and the armed forces – as absurd.“I don’t think it’s explicable. I think it’s a terrible decision,” said Schettino. “It will be impossible for public bodies to function. “The government has serious financing problems, it’s not taxing enough and the economic crisis is very deep,” he said. “But all governments around the world are taking on debt to confront this crisis, because this is the rational decision. I think we’re the only ones who aren’t.”Even Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil has abandoned austerity plans to cope with the pandemic. López Obrador, a self-described leftist who won the presidency and control of Congress in 2018 vowing to transform the country, has yet to raise Mexico’s historically low tax rates. The latest body blow to Mexican archaeology comes as researchers make fascinating new discoveries – from a mass grave of hunted mammoths just outside Mexico City, to the oldest and largest Maya structure found to date.“I just can’t see how suffocating INAH could support indigenous cultures,” said David Stuart, director of the Mesoamerica Center at the University of Texas, Austin. “It can only undermine the nation’s remarkable history and its deep indigenous past.“The Spanish conquest was exactly 500 years ago, not that long ago. Mesoamerican cultures can be traced 3,000 beyond that,” Stuart added. “How can that deep heritage not be important in the present day?”
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Julia Fox defends viral ‘Uncut Gems’ interview moment: ‘I was stoned’ | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
4m-p0_-ePd8
Alexia Echevarria pushed ‘RHOM’ producers to show more of son Frankie’s recovery | Page Six
February 17, 2022
E-wTaN9NfkI
Pete Davidson rejoins Instagram amid Kanye West drama | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
SsC3dmsI6t4
Aaron Rodgers And Shailene Woodley Reportedly Break Up | TMZ LIVE
February 17, 2022
FoErdRE8Qe4
Chet Hanks Done Talking About Famous Parents, Becoming Personal Trainer | TMZ
February 16, 2022
5_UrULOkQ6o
Woman Stabbed at Foot Locker During Nike Shoe Release
February 16, 2022
TfuXMs1JdVg
Steph's Freaky Side, "Summer House" & "Love During Lockup"
February 17, 2022
9W_raO0zlA8
Tay or Nay, Offset's Sushi Anxiety & Nick on Monogamy
February 17, 2022
PauYHpJRA6o
Kim Kardashian & North West TWINNING in Matching Pajamas | E! News
February 17, 2022
b-_Oib6R108
Adam McKay - Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony
February 17, 2022
tYtzsHoOZzo
Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, and the Cast of 'Uncharted' Talk Most Challenging Stunts
February 15, 2022
d3ksX-SKi8c
Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell on ‘The Adam Project’, ‘Deadpool’, and Possible ‘Star Wars’ Role
February 16, 2022
5TxJsbJr9Dk
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
04
May
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Playoffs
Seattle Sounders - Pumas
04
May
USA: Major League Soccer
FC Cincinnati - Toronto FC
03
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Bournemouth - Nottingham Forest
02
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Brentford
02
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Fulham - Luton
02
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Real Betis
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Eintracht Frankfurt
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Monchengladbach - RB Leipzig
02
May
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Salernitana
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Leicester City
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Mallorca
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Bologna
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Arsenal
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Chelsea
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Inter Milan
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Fiorentina
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Venezia
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Rayo Vallecano - Real Sociedad
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Mainz - Bayern Munich
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bochum
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Liverpool
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Atletico Madrid
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Manchester City
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Espanyol
30
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Sassuolo
28
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Chelsea
27
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Liverpool - Villarreal
27
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Inter Milan
26
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Manchester City - Real Madrid
25
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Juventus
24
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Rayo Vallecano
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - AC Milan
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Everton
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - West Ham United
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Empoli - Napoli
23
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brentford - Tottenham Hotspur
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.