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News > Culture

UNESCO Commends Venezuela’s Fight Against Trafficking of Archaeological, Cultural Artifacts

  • Some of the 196 cultural objects returned to Costa Rica.

    Some of the 196 cultural objects returned to Costa Rica. | Photo: Institute for Cultural Heritage

Published 6 April 2018

The Government of Venezuela recovered 196 cultural heritage pieces in 2017, which were extracted illegally from Costa Rica for auction in the U.S.

Venezuelan institutions and authorities were commended Thursday for their role in the fighting against the illicit trafficking of archaeological and cultural objects in Venezuela and abroad by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).


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Speaking after the commendation was received Venezuela’s Ministry of Culture, Ernesto Villegas said: “Venezuela’s voice is heard with respect at the World’s Heritage Center, where the country’s good practices and contributions to the implementation of Unesco conventions are recognized.”

In a video published through Villegas’ Twitter account, Omar Vielma, president of the country's Institute for Cultural Heritage, said Venezuela gave a “global example of how to protect our cultural objects, and we took action last December by recovering and repatriating to Costa Rica 196 pieces seized in Venezuela as the result of the policies that our committee against illicit trafficking of cultural goods has… We were asked to bring the documented experience of how we repatriated these goods to the next meeting.”

Villegas also announced that Venezuela has submitted an application for the tradition of the Blessed Palm of Chacao and Margarita to be considered as part of the country’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.

He also requested the support of Unesco’s General Director Audrey Azoula in Venezuela’s quest to have the Piedra Kueka, a large stone that forms part of the Pemon people’s heritage and myths, returned by Germany.

A German artist took the stone in 1998, and it now resides in the metropolitan Tiergarten Park in Berlin as part of an installation titled “Global Stone.”

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