UN Won't Take Over Alamo, George P. Bush Assures Texas

Have no fear, Texans. The Alamo isn't falling under control of the United Nations.

The San Antonio fort symbolizing Texan independence earned recognition from the UN on July 5, when it joined the international body's list of World Heritage sites. Though the distinction might increase the number of people who visit and remember the Alamo, it has also worried some Lone Star State residents wary of foreign encroachment on their turf.

Fears that Texas would lose control of the Alamo struck such a chord that Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, the current custodian of the site, released a statement on Saturday to calm anxieties.

"It ain't gonna happen," said Bush, a Republican who is the son of the former Florida governor and current presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization also declared four other San Antonio colonial sites World Heritage sites last week.

Nothing about the UNESCO declaration will change who owns the Alamo, but the site is now elevated into a group of the world's cultural treasures, including India's Taj Mahal and China's Great Wall. The recognition could generate as many as 1,100 jobs and as much as $105 million in economic activity over 10 years, according to a study cited by The Texas Tribune.

Yet a few dozen protesters wary of the UN demonstrated at the Alamo on the day Bush released his statement. A Republican candidate for the Texas House of Representatives, David Watts, organized the protest.

The Alamo was, of course, where vastly outnumbered Texas soldiers held out for 13 days against Mexican troops when Texas was seeking its independence from Mexico. More than 180 soldiers died during the siege.

"Frankly, as a proud native Texan, I believe that safeguarding the crown jewels of Texas history is one of the General Land Office's most important roles," Bush said.

The Texas General Land Office hasn't held full control over the site for very long. On Friday, it officially assumed custodianship of the Alamo from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the caretakers of the site since 1905. The General Land Office took over following allegations that the Daughters mismanaged the site.

Earlier this year, after it became apparent that the Texas General Land Office would take over the Alamo, state Sen. Donna Campbell, a Tea Party Republican, introduced legislation prohibiting the office from ceding control of the site to a foreign entity. The bill didn't make it out of committee, according to the San Antonio Express News.



U.S. State Capitol Buildings