Since the protests held on International Women’s Day back in early March, several of Mérida’s historic monuments remain covered in graffiti.
One notable exception is the monument to the Montejo that bore the brunt of much of the protests, but has now been restored.
Locals and visitors alike in Mérida are wondering why other iconic monuments including the statue of Justo Sierra and the Monumento a la Patria have not received the same treatment.
“Mérida is lovely, but all this graffiti is a bit of an eyesore, if I am being honest,” said Canadian tourist Margarethe Shull.
To get to the bottom of this issue, we have been in touch with several government offices including Mérida’s public works office, the state government, and INAH.
At least part of the problem seems to stem from the fact that these different agencies and branches and governments are passing the buck to each other — perhaps not wanting to spend the resources required to rehabilitate the monuments.
According to the city government, care for the monuments on Paseo de Montejo falls outside their jurisdiction as they are considered historic monuments under the purview of INAH.
“Historic monuments are the responsibility of INAH, so we are not able to intervene directly ourselves,” said Javier Espinoza of Mérida City Hall to Yucatán Magazine in a telephone interview.
But this statement seems to be contradicted by the fact that vehicles and personnel emblazoned with City Hall emblems have been seen working on these monuments in the past.
When contacted, state representatives also argued that responsibility for the monuments falls squarely on INAH and refrained from giving any other details.
As for INAH, the federal agency has chosen to not respond to several phone calls and voice mails inquiring about this issue.
Issues regarding staffing and budget cuts at INAH have been well documented over the past couple of years. This is likely a contributing factor to the slow response when it comes to restoring defaced historic monuments on Paseo de Montejo and elsewhere in Mérida’s Centro.
“INAH is responsible for the maintenance of several monuments in Mérida, but those that have been erected relatively recently, like the monument to the Montejo, do indeed fall under the responsibility of the municipality,” said a source working for INAH in Yucatán who preferred to remain anonymous.