Though more than 100 people had indicated they would attend on Facebook, less than 30 people gathered in front of the Alamo on Saturday afternoon to protest the iconic shrine’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
David Watts, a Republican who is running for running for the District 7 state representative seat, organized the rally, said the United Nations has “no business” at the Alamo.
“Do we need the U.N. to help start raise awareness (of the Alamo)?” he asked the crowd to a smattering answers of “No.”
“Is there anything the U.N. does well?” Again, the answer was “No.”
Many San Antonians – including city leaders – welcomed news of the designation on July 5, an international distinction that puts the Alamo and Spanish colonial Missions on the same list as natural and man-made marvels such as the Grand Canyon, Statue of Liberty, Angkor Wat, and the Taj Majal. The designation itself carries with it no funding or conveyance of legal control, but it’s expected to bring even more attention, visitors, and therefore economic impact to tourism and development sectors.
But Watts joined members from groups including the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT), the Tea Party, and Texas National Movement to call for a rejection of the designation and a return of the site’s management to the DRT.
Friday evening, the DRT held a closing ceremony for its last day of management duties at the Alamo. In March, the Texas General Land Office ordered the DRT to cease its management of the historic site on July 10. Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush had sent a letter to the DRT explaining the order, citing 10 contractual breaches including budgetary, staffing, maintenance, and management failures.
“There might have been (management) issues, and maybe it could eventually be a joint committee or something with members of DRT on it,” said Daughter Maggie Wright. “The DRT has a love for the Alamo – it’s instilled in them because it’s part of their heritage, it’s part of us.”
She said she has three ancestors that were at the historic 1836 Battle of the Alamo.
The Alamo has gone “from local control by patriots to a bureaucracy, and now – I won’t say control – but influence from the U.N. and their expectations for this site,” Watts said. In order to maintain the designation the site needs to be maintained. He said the U.N. will pressure the City and County against development. “Do we want a 7-Eleven here (at the Alamo)? Probably not. But, again, Texans can decide that.”
According the UNESCO website, designation does not mean transference of property rights, “but it is considered in the interest of the international community to protect the site for future generations.”
A representative of Watts’ campaign was quick to inform that crowd that the candidate, who had run against Bush for the commissioner position in 2014, was not associated with the Texas National Movement. Members of this organization and others called for Texas to secede from the United States.
“Texas is the cash cow for this country,” Steve Baysinger, a supporter of New Revolution Now. “There is not reason that Texas cannot stand economically, socially, politically by itself.”
Doc Greene, a broadcast activist for an online radio Raging Elephant Radio, agrees and told the crowd that Texas should be its own nation, that the Alamo is a “blood-bought shrine” and shouldn’t let “the ‘United Nothing’ tell us anything.”
It’s largely considered by state and federal leaders to be an activist pipe-dream, but the movement remains steadfast despite that most rebel states get “far more from the federal government in expenditures than they pay in taxes.”