Written by Kelly Holt
Remember the Alamo?
In 1836, when efforts to gain religious independence and solve other disputes with the Mexican government failed, the residents of Texas went to war. The most famous of the ensuing battles? The Alamo — severely outnumbered by Mexican forces, fewer than 200 Texans bravely fought, and lost. But a month later, General Sam Houston engaged Mexican General Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto, one of the bloodiest battles in our history. The outraged Texans, surprising the overconfident Mexican leader, led the charge with the battle cry “Remember the Alamo!” securing independence for the territory, and avenging losses suffered at the Alamo.
The Spanish mission, one of five established along the San Antonio River, now faces a different, yet no less sinister, threat, along with its sister missions. Saved from destruction by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, which operated the mission for over 100 years, the site was turned over to Texas’ General Land Office in 2011, and the mission has now been nominated for consideration as a United Nations World Heritage site.In Texas’ biennial legislative session, convening in January, State Senator Donna Campbell introduced her Protect the Alamo Act against, incredibly, opposition to retaining Texas control of the site.
The historic mission has become an icon for individual liberty, heroism, and the independent spirit of America for all Americans, but especially Texans who’ve enshrined the site as a sacred place in Lone Star history. Some Texans are wondering where that spirit went as they watch state leadership court the dollars and jobs promised with the UN designation.
Remembering a small skirmish preceding the Battle of the Alamo when a small band of Texans challenged Mexico’s demand to relinquish all its guns with the equivalent of “Oh, yeah? Well, come get ‘em!”, one would think all Texans would be wondering, even considering the promises of money.
According to the Texas Tribune, “A World Heritage designation would add up to $105 million in additional economic activity to Bexar County [home of the Alamo] by 2025, as well as up to 1,100 jobs and as much as $2.2 million in additional hotel tax revenue, according to a 2013 report by the Harbinger Consulting Group.” But the site is already a renowned landmark, and it’s not as if Texans are hurting for jobs, with a 4.6 percent official unemployment rate. A decision is expected in July.
And many are rightly concerned about the unintended consequences of making it a World Heritage Site, such as the loss of property rights, authority over the site, and, well, the absence of any provision in the Texas Constitution to turn over State property to any other agency — not to mention Campbell’s feeling that “anything with U N in it gives me cause for concern.”
One major worry uttered by critics is that the site would be “sold” to the UN. In a February hearing, the Tribune explained, the office of newly elected Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush (son of Jeb Bush) told lawmakers that “the General Land Office would only be able to sell the Alamo if lawmakers passed legislation directing them to do so.” Though Deputy Land Commissioner Larry Laine said that “Commissioner Bush would say no to allowing the Alamo to be sold,” he made no guarantees for the future, saying, “I cannot speak for that next commissioner.”
Some Texas bureaucrats are openly dismissive of any land transfer worries. Former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson stated in a 2013 General Land Office press release that a World Heritage Nomination will not change authority, jurisdiction, or ownership of the Alamo or any of the other Spanish missions. Responding to a media report that the UN flag will fly over the Alamo, Patterson responded bluntly: “Horse hockey.”
But the sale of the property may be of least concern. Possession is said to be nine-tenths of the law, and the UN will undoubtedly be exercising authority over the area if the designation goes through.
Infowars.com rightly observed in October 2013, “Sovereign jurisdiction means little when governments and the UN are completely interconnected. Yet as we constantly see with Agenda 21, local city governments adopt policies ‘recommended’ by the UN as if they were law. The UN’s pressure has already been felt in San Antonio after the city nixed a proposed downtown hotel tower because it would have jeopardized the Alamo’s World Heritage status.”
“Other downtown businesses may suffer worse fates because, under the terms of the World Heritage Convention, governments are expected to protect heritage sites beyond their borders, infringing upon private property in the process. In 1995, for example, then President Bill Clinton asked the UN to declare Yellowstone Park in Wyoming a ‘World Heritage Site in Danger,’ giving him the ‘international obligation’ to shut down a private mine three miles away from the park, even though the mine predated the park by 150 years.”
Infowars continued, “In 2002, the UNESCO World Heritage Center published a manual entitled ‘Managing Tourism at World Heritage Sites,’ which outlines UN obligations that the historic site managers are expected to follow, stating that ‘the duty of the international community as a whole to cooperate’ in managing World Heritage Sites.”
The UNESCO constitution also states that UNESCO shall operate as an adjunct of the UN, which claims authority over everything it touches, regardless of statements to the contrary.
Conservative and independent Texans are aghast that their supposedly conservative leadership is supporting this measure. Critics say that Patterson, along with others, should be protecting Texas independence along with its property, instead of piecing it off to a supranational agency not known for sticking to its principles.
Alarmingly, the decision is being made without the consent of Texans. In an end-run around Texans, the National Park Service, according to The Missions of San Antonio website is “leading the World Heritage application process,” obligating Texans’ time, property rights and money to something over which they have no say.
Some of the state’s lawmakers are worried about Cambell’s initiative, claiming that “it could cause the UNESCO voting committee to look unfavorably on the San Antonio nomination.”
“I don’t think there is anyone that disagrees with you about the Alamo and its history,” said Senator Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio). “I don’t think there is any member on this committee that will allow the Alamo to be sold. The concern I have simply is that we are sending the wrong message.”
Independent Texans posit that the “wrong message” is that we care what UNESCO thinks. Keep Texas independent, and remember the Alamo.