Is the United Nations taking over the Alamo? Texas property officials say unequivocally no. But the potential negative impact on nearby property owners if it becomes a UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site does raise valid concerns, critics say.
Such a designation mandates the creation of a property restrictions buffer zone which encompasses about 4,500 acres around the Alamo. Thousands of Texas property owners could be impacted by the change in property rights designation due to the new United Nations’ program status. The Alamo has been nominated to become such a site.
The Texas General Land Office did not address the land restrictions which would be placed on private property in the area of the Alamo after it is designated as a World Heritage Site. A press release only said that “complementary legal and/or customary restrictions” would be placed on Alamo area private property location in the vicinity of the UNESCO complex.
A Tea Party website published the official wording about the Alamo buffer zone:
A buffer zone surrounds the nominated property following the boundaries set up in the various city ordinances, including Rio Overlay Districts 3-6, Mission Historic District, River South Management Area, and the Alamo Historic District. The buffer zone runs from Travis Street in the north to Camino Coahuilteca on the south, Presa Street on the east and Mission Road and Roosevelt Ave on the west. The total area of the buffer zone is 1,828.8 hectares.
The UNESCO Operation Guidelines state that the reason for the World Heritage Site buffer zone is to protect the nominated property, its use, and development. When Yellowstone National Park was declared a “World Heritage Site in Danger” during the Bill Clinton administration, private property use within the so-called buffer zone was restricted as a protective measure. A privately owned mine multiple miles away from the national park was forced to close by order of the federal government, on behalf of the United Nations, according to InfoWars. Such an example of UN control makes concerns about a foreign “takeover of the Alamo” appear a bit more credible.
Responding to growing criticism about the UN World Heritage Site designation impact on the Alamo, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said, “Some folks might think that getting on this UNESCO World Heritage list means the UN has some sort of influence on the Alamo. The people of Texas own the Alamo now and in the future. Nothing in is going to change that.”
Patterson’s statements about the ownership of the Alamo appear correct, but he did not address the impact on private property owners in the area. His officer oversees the operation of the Alamo and he is also a GOP candidate for Texas Lieutenant Governor.
Rumors about the United Nations taking over the Alamo began on social media networks and via email several weeks ago – and quickly went viral. Posters were concerned that the United Nations and their new World Heritage Site status would mean authority over one of the nation’s cherished landmarks, and four other Spanish colonial missions, would transfer out of Texas hands.
MySanAntonio.com reports that the World Heritage Site status was “actively sought” by local officials and such a title would “bring immense honor” to the Alamo and Spanish missions. They believe adding the Alamo onto a global list will bring in more tourism dollars.
The controversy began as a response to an article written by former San Antonio Tea Party President George Rodriguez. He deemed his report a “cautionary piece,” noting also that he has lost faith in his local elected officials. “I’m just constantly saying ‘may’ or ‘might’ in the article. I’m never once saying that this [UN takeover of the Alamo] is going to happen. We need to be aware,” Rodriguez said in an interview about his now viral article.
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro has garnered a multitude of criticism over the UNESCO program in relation to the Alamo, but he does not have a direct jurisdiction over the Texas landmark or nearby Spanish missions.
Mayor Castro had this to say about the controversy:
The UNESCO designation is a significant and advantageous designation that does not in any way relinquish control, and it’s a designation that the Statute of Liberty and the Grand Canyon and other sacred American sites already have.
An excerpt from Rodriguez’s UN takes over the Alamo article reads: “Castro is a liberal who believes in a ‘global society,’ and apparently he sees no problem with the U.N. influencing or even managing the Alamo.”
The website of the UNESCO World Heritage Site says its mission is to:
- Encourage countries to sign the World Heritage Convention and to ensure the protection of their natural and cultural heritage;
- Encourage States Parties to the Convention to nominate sites within their national territory for inclusion on the World Heritage List;
- Encourage States Parties to establish management plans and set up reporting systems on the state of conservation of their World Heritage sites;
- Help States Parties safeguard World Heritage properties by providing technical assistance and professional training;
- Provide emergency assistance for World Heritage sites in immediate danger;
- Support States Parties’ public awareness-building activities for World Heritage conservation;
- Encourage participation of the local population in the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage;
- Encourage international cooperation in the conservation of our world’s cultural and natural heritage.
How do you feel about the World Heritage Site designation of American landmarks? Could the buffer zones be used to further the Agenda 21 movement?