Former San Antonio Tea Party president George Rodriguez launched the controversy in September with an emailed piece titled “The New Battle for the Alamo.” In the piece, which has been picked up at various conservative blogs, Rodriguez warns that San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro is attempting to cede control of the site of the famous battle between Texans and the Mexican Army to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “It is ironic that while many Texans across the state talk about the dangers of the UN’s Agenda 21, the Alamo, the very symbol of Texas liberty and freedom, may fall under U.N. influence,” Rodriguez writes. “Castro wants to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee to help manage the Alamo.”
The Castro administration argued in May that the Alamo belongs on the World Heritage List because of the unique architecture it and other Franciscan missions display and how they show the ways in which Spain helped shape history. More recently, a newsletter from the San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation cheerily informed the city’s residents that the five colonial missions had the chance to be on the list, which catapulted the issue back into the public eye.
Now conservative Texans are rallying to make sure that the site where Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie gave their lives never falls into international hands. A Texan blogger who picked up Rodriguez’s comments warned, “Bottom Line: Julian Castro is working with the United Nations to redefine the cradle of Texas liberty into a ‘living symbol of how Spain shaped history’ under the guise of economic development.” A post at the conspiracy theory site InfoWars which brought the subject into a more prominent view also claimed that inclusion on the list would mean “that a blue UN flag may fly above the historic shrine of liberty once it falls under UN control.”
It’s gotten to the point that Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who is running for lieutenant governor, was forced to put out a statement totally denying the idea that the United Nations will be coming in to administer the Alamo. “The people of Texas own the Alamo now and in the future. Nothing is going to change that,” said Patterson in the statement, which also referred to the Rodriguez theory as “horse-hockey.”
Part of the reason why conservatives are so worried about the naming of the Alamo to the World Heritage List is a misguided view of precisely what UNESCO does and a firm belief in yet another conspiracy theory. UNESCO requires that sites on the list are properly maintained, calling it “the duty of the international community as a whole to cooperate” in making sure they don’t fall into ruin. In that, and suggestions that some states restrict heavy access to sites for environmental reasons, they see traces of “sustainable development,” which in turn they believe is secret code for the world-domination scheme known as Agenda 21. In actuality, Agenda 21 is a series of non-binding resolutions designed to suggest how to grow economies without destroying the environment, but the theory persists regardless.
This is far from the first time that Texas residents have publicly insinuated that the United Nations has sinister deigns on the Lone Star State. During last year’s election cycle, Attorney-General Greg Abbott — who is currently running for governor — warned away election inspectors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) from performing the monitoring they have done for more than a decade. Even more incredible, the mayor of Lubbock, Texas predicted that an Obama victory last year would cause such lawlessness on the streets that the White House would call on the U.N. to send in peacekeeping troops.