Worst Case Averted
This is our wrap up report on the fight to save Casco Viejo from the Cinta Costera 3 highway, but, more than anything, it is a thank you to everyone who donated to protect a heritage site that cannot protect itself. In the end, your generosity helped avert the worst case scenario, a massive landfill that would have made this World Heritage Site all but unrecognizable. Your donations made it possible to pay for protest materials, websites, lawyers to defend us when we were threatened and advertisements to get the word out.
The final highway is less than a year from being complete, and, though it is an aesthetic, economic, urbanistic and ecological disaster, it is better than the landfill the government of Panama and their contractor, Odebrecht, had originally intended for two reasons. First is that is on pilings two hundred meters from shore, so it allows the Casco to retain its historic fortifications and some of its relationship with the sea. But, most importantly, it is far easier to remove than the landfill would have been, which gives us hope that at some point in the future it can be removed.
The status of Casco Viejo as a World Heritage Site is still not clear. In June of this year UNESCO will have its annual meeting and be faced with a dilemma of its own creation: allow Casco Viejo to remain as a World Heritage Site, thereby endorsing senseless interventions like CC3 at other Sites, or delisting Casco Viejo, which raises the question of why UNESCO's leadership did not use its powerful voice to publicly denounce CC3 when it had the chance.
While this chapter of the fight to save Casco Viejo from this highway is now closed, in the years to come we still have hope that ultimately any politicians who promoted this project for their personal gain will be brought to justice and that more enlightened leadership in the future will agree that it should be removed and replaced with any of the much better alternatives.
Project Advance as of March 2013