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iciHati – ISPAN: A 45th anniversary against a backdrop of concerns

  • April 2, 2024
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iciHaiti – ISPAN: A 45th anniversary against a backdrop of concerns
02/04/2024 09:44:57

45 years ago, the Institute for the Protection of National Heritage (ISPAN) was created by Presidential Decree. This institution was specially designed for the implementation of the “Putting the Henry Citadel out of water” project.

From a private institution, on March 29, 1979, the government of President Jean-Claude Duvalier made it a state organization with the specific mission of resurrecting the Citadel from its ashes. This Haitian state project continued until around 1992, and produced this visible result that we all know. He did even better by requesting the UNESCO classification of the Citadelle, Sans Souci, Ramiers National Historical Park (PNH CSSR) as a World Heritage Site.

This mission, which was initially limited to the Citadelle, Sans Souci and Ramiers National Historical Park (25 km2), has evolved over the years to cover the entire national territory (27,750 km2).

Historic monuments are very fragile structures and vulnerable to earthquakes, bad weather and multiple destructive anthropogenic activities. Unfortunately for several years, the well-known and little-known prestigious monuments have shown obvious signs of fatigue. We helplessly witness the destruction and transformation of sites and monuments such as: the Citadel Henry, the Citadel of the Platons, Fort Oliviers, St-Louis, Jacques & Alexandre, Madame, Doko, Fin du Monde, St-Louis Cathedral Louis etc…

In addition to the specter of earthquakes, what is to be feared above all is the surge of violence, this infernal cascade which spares nothing and leaves no possibility for the institution to go on site. The built heritage is going through very dark times, the historic premises of ISPAN in Cap-Haitien have been arbitrarily taken over by people with neither title nor status despite institutional protests. As for our office at Champ de Mars in Port-au-Prince, demonstrators tried to set it on fire twice.

Faced with the obscurantism of all, the built heritage of the Republic of Haiti is paying a heavy price.

IH/ iciHaïti

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