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Monday, 30 November, 2020

Coro, UNESCO’s World Heritage Site city, falling apart

The Colonial-era houses that made Coro famous worldwide are in a state of utter disrepair, as well as the city’s very school infrastructure. Critics cite a lack of maintenance and investment as culprits for damage to irreplaceable “Jewish Neighborhood” buildings and other sites.

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By Lisbeth Barboza Ruiz.

Colonial-era houses and a school located in the center of Coro, a city in western Venezuela and world heritage sites, according to UNESCO, are collapsing due to the rains of the last three weeks.

Last Monday, residents of the Ampies street heard a roar: at dawn, they realized that the roof of the Juan Crisostomo Falcon school, one of the oldest in Coro, collapsed and the tilework ceiling that UNESCO wanted preserving and debris that covered the façade of the historical school were still littering the sidewalk and street.

You must read The roof of Venezuela’s largest public university fell apart

Two weeks ago, the house of local poet Elias David Curiel, the author of the regional anthem, also collapsed.

Likewise, the houses of the old Jewish neighborhood have also collapsed in the last few days, and the debris remains in the street, obstructing the passage of vehicles and pedestrians.

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Journalist Elvia Gonzalez also posted pictures showing damage to some colonial houses located in the protected area of the heritage site because of the heavy rains and flash floods.

The roof of the Juan Crisostomo Falcon school, located on Ampies Street in downtown Coro, collapsed in the early morning of October 2, causing concern among the inhabitants of the area. Photo: Jesus Veliz.

News of deterioration of this site comes only weeks after part of the UCV university in Caracas, another heritage site, also caved in. Venezuela is going through a severe economic and political crisis, and preservation work very often takes a backseat to other more urgent and less costly tasks.

The main problem in the central area of Coro has been the lack of investment and maintenance of its oldest structures, said area man Jesus Veliz. In the heritage area, streets flood, he said, and the building collapse.

Social media users such as Mr. Veliz and others expressed concern at the state of neglect seen in such a historical site.

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