07 | DIC | 2019
Up to MXN $13 million to restore Mexico’s Angel of Independence monument
The emblematic monument needs structural reinforcement – Photo: Iván Stephens/EL UNIVERSAL

Up to MXN $13 million to restore Mexico’s Angel of Independence monument

23/08/2019
14:03
Mexico City
Eduardo Hernández & Nadia Venegas/EL UNIVERSAL
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Mexico City's Secretariat of Works and Services is in charge of the restoration project with help from the Engineering Institute because of the structural issues of the monument

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The structural restoration of the Angel of Independence – due to the damages of the 19S earthquake back in 2017 – will require an investment of  MXN $10 to $13 million, as said by the head of the Secretariat of Works and Services of Mexico City, Jesús Antonio Esteva Medina.

“The total investment is between MXN $10 and $13 million, but we will precise it when we have the executive project,” he said.

Esteva Medina commented that one of the first actions for the structural restoration of the monument is the installation of a scaffolding that will help to inspect every detail and meet the points required by the Engineering Institute, such as the attachment of the structure, for they are interested in analyzing the position of the monument.

 

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“We should first install the scaffolding, which has a cost of almost MXN $1 million; we have a quote, but we’re requesting another. From the diagnosis, the Institute will give us the executive project and then the reinforcement of the Angel will be bid,” he said.

Mayoress Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo explained that for the restoration the government works with the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA); nevertheless, the Secretariat of Works is now in charge of the project with help from the Engineering Institute because of the structural issues.

Despite the rumors of the expiration of the insurance policy of the Angel of Independence, Mexico City’s Secretariat of Administration and Finance informed that the monument is insured as one of the assets under the care and custody of the Cuauhtémoc municipality, and is part of the integral coverage (0701-0189-34-00) of the government of Mexico City with Grupo Afirme Seguros, S.A. de C.V.

Mayoress Sheinbaum commented that the most pressing need is the structural reinforcement of the monument, although she did not define whether the graffiti made a week ago will be removed or not.

Last weekend, the Angel was vandalized by a group of men and women who were part of a protest against gender violence in Mexico City.

The protest took place on August 16 and it was organized by feminist groups. Mexican women in different states of the country marched against sexual crimes and the lack of action of authorities to punish offenders. Protesters demanded safety for women and justice for victims, and carried banners with messages such as “If they kill me, if they rape me, if they disappear me, destroy it all!” “They are killing us and you do nothing,” and “Not one less, we want justice.”

The outrage sparked from impunity and the generalized rise of gender violence in Mexico made some groups of protesters commit different acts of vandalism: they threw stones, bombs, gases, and paint; they damaged public transport, and they started a fire in a police station. These groups also made wall paintings and threw pink glitter in Mexico’s Angel of Independence monument.
 

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“I understand it is a proposal; we will listen to everyone and everyone has an opinion,” the Mayoress said.

She mentioned that gender violence is not a new issue, for years women have felt unprotected and even said that she knows the problem closely, for she has used public transport since she was 11 years old.

For its part, a group of more than 100 female experts in restoration and conservation of cultural heritage asked for the graffiti to be kept in the Angel of Independence.

In a letter to Mayoress Claudia Sheinbaum, the group “Restaurateurs with Glitter” said that under no circumstance the messages should be removed until the problem of insecurity suffered by women is addressed and solved.

Cultural heritage can be restored, but women who suffer violence, who are sexually abused and tortured will never be the same; the missing women will still be expected by their mourners, and those murdered will never come back. Lost lives cannot be restored; social tissues can,” explains the letter.

The text points out that cultural heritage is not static and that it helps express ideas that create identity and meaning.

“We consider that due to its high social, historical, and symbolic relevance, the graffiti must be thoroughly documented with the objective of emphasizing and keeping alive the collective memory of this event and its causes.”

This week, the local Culture Ministry informed that the closing of the monument is part of the remodeling maneuvers that had been planned after the structural damages it suffered because of the earthquakes in September 2017, and not exactly because of the graffiti.
 

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