The Best Interest, understood as a set of actions and processes that make up a value judgment prior to any benefit that guarantees an integral development that embraces material and affective conditions, can serve us here, by extension, to address the many-cited case of the Citigroup Cultural Heritage Banamex.
Much has been said about the second sale of this great collection and its invaluable cost, which, as Ximena Apisdorf points out, is not invaluable, quite the opposite, and that is precisely where its importance as a collection lies. At the moment, since it is confidential information, we do not know the amount of the appraisal. For what it’s worth, 20 years ago the institution itself valued the collection at 64.5 million dollars. For now, the invaluable thing helps us to question its eventual acquisition by the government, since its administration has museums without toilet paper.
Twenty years ago, after the National Banking and Securities Commission, the Federal Competition Commission and the Ministry of Finance approved that first transaction, the bylaws of the financial group were modified, by agreement with the cultural authorities, to expand 15 to 180 business days, the right of preference so that the government could acquire said cultural heritage. That is to say, the State has the right to both, but not the economic resources to acquire this heritage. Consider the conditions in which the museum facilities are at this time, they did not even have to buy antibacterial gel in their intended post-pandemic reopening. The budget cut to the Ministry of Culture and the institutes in charge of ensuring precisely the conservation of this heritage in question; the elimination of Trusts, the cancellation of international exhibitions and the concentration of cultural policy.
What makes us think that it will be better off in the hands of the government? The rancid quadrotheist nationalism? The fits of idealism of a ruling class, if not clumsy, incompetent? Or the words of Foreign Minister Ebrard, who 20 years ago said that it was a public policy error to allow the interest of investors to prevail over the country’s historical and cultural heritage. He asked the Executive to condition the sale and separate cultural property from it: “since the president has the instruments to do it.” He said.
Let’s start from the latter that the now Chancellor said in August 2001, conditioning the sale and separating cultural assets. The bank has said that the sale is not partial but total, that they will not separate the collection. But one thing is what the bank wants, another what can be achieved in a negotiation when the sale goes through state customs. Here, it will be necessary to overcome the speech of the Fobaproa, the tiny vision of the government and face the transaction with a vision of the State.
Then, try to endorse with the new owners the agreement of 20 years ago, to keep the collection intact and in the country. Submit said agreement to the bank’s Articles of Association and also establish the right of preference in exposures. Here comes the most difficult. Answer the question: Why do you want a collection of this nature? If the government has proven to be a failure in the maintenance and conservation of heritage. Let’s see ourselves in the mirror of the embodegada Collection Payment in Kind. Thus, why not think of a selection of heritage that could be state, with the advice of a committee of experts under the criteria of historical, artistic and cultural relevance.
Explore the feasibility of a long-term fiscal strategy, through the aforementioned committee, and the support of entrepreneurs who wish to participate in an institutional program, based on the taxes generated by the purchase and sale of the bank, whose purpose is to start acquiring said goods on account of the payment of taxes in the future. Or, start buying only the goods that are not protected by law. If the problem is nationalism.
In 2003, the government of President Fox intended to hand over the Old Archbishopric Palace to the Archdiocese to create a museum of sacred art. The political debate led the government to reconsider, and legislators to carry out a profound reform of the General Law of National Assets to ensure that no property that had been ecclesiastical property ceased to be under the control of the Nation. Tying the criterion with the Law of Religious Associations and Public Worship, which states that this type of associations may only use assets of the Nation exclusively for religious purposes.
The reflection is, the Mexican State, continental leader in cultural heritage, cannot sustain said heritage in optimal conditions. It is a state jealous of the church and private initiative. What good is it to us that it belongs to the nation if it is in a pitiful condition. It is necessary to think of shared custody, putting the highest interest of the Collection first. Difficult, I know. The father is rabidly nationalistic and the mother happily neoliberal. We no longer speak of a society of coexistence with the church.