Daily Archives: April 21, 2013

What does the Bolivian State do to protect our heritage?!

Anahi Cazas reports for Pagina Siete:

Church regrets that there is no State support

In 6 months they stole 5 temples which are national monuments

Heritage: in the last six months, eight colonial churches suffered theft in Potosi.

2013-04-19 07.50.14 amOf the eight colonial temples that suffered thefts in the last six months, in Potosi, five have national monument status, yet do not receive support from the authorities for their protection and conservation.

“in Potosí we have several temples which were declared as world heritage; however, never given real dimension to that title and many of these churches are still not restored properly,”said father Marco Abascal, vicar general of the Diocese of Potosí, who added that neglect also translates into lack of measures that ensure the security.

Since the middle of last year thieves stole valuable pieces of the temples of Manquiri, Tomave, San Luis de Saca Saca, Livi Livi and La Merced, all national monuments, according to a register of the Ministry of Cultures. The other three, who also suffered thefts are those of Aguachica, Macha, and San Antonio.

In some cases, the titles of national monument dating from more than 80 years ago. For example, the Church of La Merced, who suffered a robbery on March 16, 2013, received the Declaration on April 11, 1930.

Abascal said that for several years there has been requests for the collaboration of the Ministry of Cultures to protect these temples. “Despite being heritage, most do not have a security system,” said.

Declarations are granted by laws and decrees to buildings with historical, heritage, stylistic or architectural value. These rules sets the safeguarding of its infrastructure and prohibition of their destruction, said Ximena Pacheco, Chief of the direction of heritage of the municipality of La Paz.

“Real estate heritage must have government protection, although the legal framework obliges to the owners of the property that are in charge of their protection,” she said.

While Lupe Meneses, of the documentation unit of the Ministry of Cultures, explained that the responsibility varies according to the scope of the Declaration.

According to Israel Escóbar, monuments and sites of the Ministry of Cultures unit technician, most of these temples date back to the 18th century.

32 potosinos temples are monuments

58 Potosi buildings and historical sites were declared national monuments, 32 are temples and religious shrines.

“Almost 80% of real estate national heritage belong to religious temples. The rest is civil architecture,”said Israel Escóbar, technical unit of monuments and sites of the Ministry of Cultures.

Some of the temples that carry this title are in the towns of Pocoata, Puna, Belen, San Cristóbal de los Lípez, Chayanta, Tinguipaya, and others.

According to Escobar, the first declarations date back to 1930, the first to receive the title were the Cathedral of Potosi, San Francisco church and the chapel of the Hospital San Juan de Dios.

Many of the declarations were issued by Supreme decrees and laws of the Bolivian State.

5 Monuments

1. The La Merced Church, located in the province of Tomás Frías, received the Declaration on April 11, 1930. It was stolen on March 16, 2013, where silver and gold were stolen, and sacred objects valued by close to half a million dollars.

2. The Church San Luis de Saca Saca, of the Alonso de Ibáñez province, received the Declaration on December 13, 1963. It was stolen on April 5, 2013 and criminals took 11 objects of silver and gold.

3. The Temple of Tomave, located in the Antonio Quijarro province, won the title on December 7, 1967.

4. The Temple of the Lord of Manquiri, located in the province of Tomás Frías, won the title on December 7, 1967. It suffered a robbery on December 20 last year [2012].

5. The Church by Livi-Livi, located in the South Chichas province, received the Declaration on December 23, 1994. Which was stolen last weekend [4/13/13].


Bolivia continues to lose its heritage and national, regional and local governments do very little to protect, let alone, go after the robbers.