Bogota – Officials of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) returned to the nation of Colombia 66 pre-Colombian pieces confiscated three years ago in Broward, south Florida, Colombia’s Minister of Culture said Monday.
Official delivery of the items took place today at the National Museum of Colombia, where they will remain permanently to be used for educational purposes, the official indicated.
In all, the repatriated items include 36 pieces of pottery, including pots, plates, vases, crocks, and ceramic figurines; 15 metal and gold items; and 16 carved emeralds.
The items were received by the Minister of Culture, Paula Marcela Morena, U.S. Embassador William R. Brownfield, and the Director of Cultural Affairs of the Chancery, Maria Elvira Quintana.
These pre-Colombian materials were recovered through a Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and Colombia, spelling out restrictions on the importation of archaeological assets from pre-Colombian cultures.
“This demonstrates the commitment between our two nations to cooperate to protect cultural patrimony, and the efforts that the government is making to prevent and control forbidden trafficking of cultural assets,” said the official.
The repatriated archaeological assets include items wrought from metal, emerald, shell, and ceramics from diverse periods and regions in the pre-Colombian history of Colombia.
The collection displays examples of funerary and ceremonial objects, some of which date back to the first century before Christ, and others of which date to the final centuries before the arrival of the Europeans.
Colombia is a party to international conventions for the protection of cultural patrimony with countries such as Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, the U.S., and Panama. Similar conventions are being drawn up with China, Argentina, and Switzerland.
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