More cottages will be added to the already-tight area west of the organ pavilion.
  • More cottages will be added to the already-tight area west of the organ pavilion.
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Groundbreaking for new cottages in Balboa Park's House of Pacific Relations is slated for November, giving nine nations their own dedicated spaces in four duplexes and one stand-alone building. House of Philippines will stand independently, while Peru, Palestine, Mexico, India, Lebanon, Turkey, Panama, and Korea will have 600-square-foot spaces in the four duplexes. (Colombia was slated for a spot but withdrew; Korea took over the spot.)

George Novinger, president of the New International Cottages Committee and of the House of Peru, said the committee is looking forward to moving into the houses — and disbanding.

"We set up a short-term nonprofit in 2007 to go through the bureaucratic process to get the houses approved," he said. "Everyone who wants a cottage will get a cottage."

The original cottages were built in 1935 as the world pulsed with nationalism and World War II was on the horizon with the emergence of fascism in Europe. The cottages were intended to showcase nations and cultures (thus, Palestine) and to promote friendship and tolerance. The House of Pacific Relations ("pacific" as in "peaceful") has grown from the original 15 members to 34, with a number of the permanent members using the Hall of Nations on a rotating basis. They've faced big challenges in trying to get more space because the area is small, well defined, and historically significant, Novinger said.

Mexico is currently one of the homeless houses using the Hall of Nations on a rotating schedule. Enrique Morones, community activist and founder of the Border Angels, called for Mexico to have its own house and started a petition on that has garnered around 735 signatures.

Morones said he founded the nonprofit House of Mexico 20 years ago and then had to fight for inclusion in the Balboa Park houses. "Mexico should have its own house," he said. "But it's good that we'll finally have a presence there — long overdue — and eventually we will get our own house."

Art Castro, an architect and the current president of the House of Mexico, said his group is pleased with the outcome, happy to share a duplex with India, and almost fully funded.

"We have to conform to the historic building design and to preserve as much public land as possible," Castro said. "We are building these knowing they are probably the last cottages built there."

The decision about who gets the single house came down to seniority, Novinger said. And any group that wants a cottage must raise money to pay for its construction, estimated at around $2 million for the five cottages. "We are almost fully funded," Novinger said.

Three duplex cottages will be added just south of the main complex, near the United States and Ukraine houses. The five cottages then will have a central shared courtyard, according to the city's environmental impact report. The remaining duplex and single cottages will be added just north of the Hall of Nations Building and the House of Iran, according to city documents.

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monaghan Oct. 25, 2016 @ 9:53 a.m.

I was incredulous to learn years ago that Mexico had no house of its own in Balboa Park.

Congratulations to tireless advocate Enrique Morones for his advocacy and success in finally getting San Diego a House of Mexico: may its central shared patio come alive with Mexican music and dance.


Rocket_J_Squirrel Oct. 25, 2016 @ 8:33 p.m.

Seeing as how the aptly named Enrique MORONes wants open borders:

I hope the Mexican one will have NO FENCES, GATES, OR DOORS so EVERYONE can come in anytime they want and stay for as long as they like. When women from other countries give birth inside the cottage, their children should automatically be given Mexican Citizenship, and be fed, housed, given medical care, and educated GRATIS.

(Of course, 20,000,000 Mexicans don't want Mexican Citizenship, that's why they all escaped to here to proudly fly the Mexican flag in the good old U.S. of A.)


monaghan Oct. 26, 2016 @ 1:33 p.m.

I would remind your xenophobic self that up until 1848, all of California south of Monterey was part of Mexico. And the (inflated) 20 million Mexican people you seem to imagine are living here without documentation -- pay taxes. Double congrats to Enrique Morones for overcoming virulent opposition like yours.


Rocket_J_Squirrel Oct. 26, 2016 @ 5:56 p.m.

For the last 30 years, my xenophobic self has been married to a woman from Sao Paulo, Brazil (the neighborhood called Higienopolis). Don't make stupid, uninformed judgments about people about you know nothing (grammer?). There were about 80,000 Mexicans here when the "border crossed them" after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo - a peace treaty. I guess Spain, then Mexico SHOULD have given the land back to the First Nation people in the first place. (Everybody thought it was OK to steal from THEM) Since that time, with the border firmly established , though not enforced, millions of people the world over (especially at LEAST 11 million from Mex, most likely twice that) decided to skirt our immigration laws because they couldn't wait to get on the list with the 30 million people who have been vetted at US Embassies around the world. Now that they made it under, over, around and through the various barriers put up to control the amount and time people enter this country, they say the immigration laws are all wrong, they demand a shortcut to citizenship, thereby giving the finger to the people waiting LAWFULLY to enter this country.

And by the way, the stupid racism card is always tossed at people who want control on the borders, but people entering illegally A - Z - Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and EVERY COUNTRY IN BETWEEN, need to follow our laws.

Also I would like to ask Enrique to give me a number of people that should be allowed into the US annually from the entire planet - not just Mexico.

Is it 1 million? 10 million? 100 million? All 6 billion?

No "virulent opposition" here. If Enrique wants open, unregulated borders, the the same should occur at the Casa de Mexico, and even Enrique's home.

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