Seaports were, for centuries, the most continuous exchange platform between Europe, Africa and America. Port cities emerge as structures and social constructions with specific characteristics. Taking them as study foci favours the debate of issues related to urban and social complexity, as they usually bring together marks of diversity, both human and cultural. This makes them privileged places for the development of studies of alterity and permeability, including cultural. Port cities in Europe and Latin America are also challenged by risks arising from the high levels of development of the tourism industry. This exploits material and immaterial heritage, built, symbolic or natural, often without benefits for the builders of those assets or their inheritors — the local communities.
This matter becomes more acute when we are dealing with memories and heritage historically built through colonial dynamics. Many questions arise around the management of these memories and inheritances. Today communities in Latin America ask for recognition of indigenous identities and values. Therefore, they call for different concepts and practices for the preservation of their own values. This paper builds on the tension arising between two concepts, Damnatio memoriae and Damnatio consensus, as expressing vibrant reactions from the communities involved.
These are the main challenges faced by the project supported by the CoopMar network, whose aims, strategies and achievements this article deals with.