Portal de la Cultura de América Latina y el Caribe
Workshop on Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property in FILVEN 2015
18 March 2015/ MPPC Press

As part of the activities of the 2015 Venezuela International Book Fair (FILVEN), the workshop “Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property” was held at the Jacinto Convit Hall of the Museum of Sciences.

The event was in charge of Rian Carlos Ramírez and Alesia Martínez, workers of the Cultural Heritage Institute (IPC).

During the workshop, participants were given an explanation on the Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property, as well the type of property subject to illicit trafficking, such as archaeological, paleontological and movable property. They were also informed of the international documents on this theme, whereby it is possible to identify the cultural property that is protected.

They also received a summary of the work carried out by the Venezuelan Technical Committee in the fight against the Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property, since its creation in 2004 until 2014, a period of significant achievements.

In this respect, they mentioned the restitution of the Odalisque in Red Pants by French painter Henri Matisse, which was returned on 8 July 2014, after having been stolen in 2002 from the Museum of Contemporary Art of Caracas. This piece forms part of the artistic heritage of Venezuelan women and men. Thanks to the action of Intelligence forces, its recovery is a milestone in the fight against the illicit trafficking of artworks at the international level.

Participants were also given a summary of the legal actions being taken for the restitution of the 57 pieces belonging to the indigenous culture of Costa Rica, which were smuggled into Venezuela. This case is known as the “Mannil Case”. Through the coordinated action of both countries, it is hoped that these valuable works will soon be returned to their country of origin.

Lastly, important information was given regarding the actions taken to recover the Kueka Stone, which was smuggled out of Venezuela in 1998, causing a great deal of harm to the Pemon people. This rock is an object of great spiritual significance to this indigenous community. Therefore, the Revolutionary Government has taken measures for its restitution, which include diplomatic efforts through the Foreign Ministry, as well as the complaint filed with the Attorney General’s Office to determine the penal responsibilities involved.

Institutional Integration

It should be noted that the Venezuelan Technical Committee against the Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property is constituted by the Cultural Heritage Institute, which presides over and coordinates its actions; the Scientific, Penal and Criminalistic Investigation Corps (CICPC); the International Police Organization (INTERPOL); the International Council of Museums of Venezuela (ICOM-Venezuela); the Ministry of the People’s Power for Transportation and Communication; the Institute of the Arts of Image and Space (IARTES); National Museum Foundation; the Ministry of Justice; the Ministry of the People’s Power for Defense; the General Headquarters of the Bolivarian Guard and the National Anti-Drugs Office (ONA).

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