March 11, 2001
4:17 AM   Subscribe

Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca citadel perched 8,366 feet high in the Peruvian Andes, might collapse at any time.
posted by lagado (5 comments total)
there is a site run by the save macchu picchu campaign that has the whole sorry tale of exploitation of a unique place
posted by quarsan at 8:09 AM on March 11, 2001

I've had a lot of conversations with people about the problem of a Gov't not seeming to care or, making very bad decisions about a historical / natural treasure. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes out of necessity. The question is, where is the boundary where the rest of the world should step in, or stay out?
posted by Dean_Paxton at 10:29 PM on March 11, 2001

This is probably a good question to ask the Taliban right now.

In the case of Peru it should be easier because they are signatories to the treaty covering World Heritage listings.

In reality, I've seen my own government (Australia) walk away from agreements it has signed regarding world heritage and even ones covering conventions on human rights.

posted by lagado at 10:42 PM on March 11, 2001

> The question is, where is the boundary where the rest
> of the world should step in, or stay out?

If it's a matter of money -- a poor nation holding a wonderful world treasure it cannot afford to preserve -- then of course wealthy nations should contribute to saving that treasure. In return, maybe all citizens of the donor countries would get free tourist access to that treasure in perpetuity.

If it's a matter of greed or stupidity -- China's Three Gorges Dam project, etc. -- sometimes there is just nothing the world can do. How do you make China stop building a dam in China?

If the cretin state is small enough to be pushed around -- say, Afghanistan -- do you go ahead and push? I say yes, if it's non-violent pushing. Negotiations, economic sanctions, good old-fashioned pleading, etc. And if, again like Afghanistan, the pushing doesn't help, well, at least you tried to do right.

If the site that quarsan posted is accurate, I would say that some Peruvian officials and business people are definitely greedy or cretinous. This and this scare me. The US should (while it is cleaning up its side of Niagara Falls and banning helicopters in the Grand Canyon) pressure Peru to stop it.
posted by pracowity at 3:46 AM on March 12, 2001

Damn. I've been to Macchu Picchu. I think it ranks as one of the most amazing and wonderful places on Earth. At the time (1990) I was totally impressed by the way that all the modern stuff--the hotel, the road up the hill, the train station--was on the opposite side of the mountain from the ruins, so that when you were among the ruins you could see nothing of modern civilization except a few glimpses of the train tracks way down at the bottom. Sigh.
posted by straight at 9:38 AM on March 12, 2001

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