Ecuador brought back 536 heritage pieces that were taken out of the country by a family of German nationality.
The lot has a high historical value. These include bowls, nose rings and anthropomorphic figurines that correspond to the Manteña, Milagro-Quevedo, Bahía, Chorrera and Valdivia cultures.
Foreign Minister José Valencia indicated that the historical verification of these articles was done with technical standards.
“Not only are they vestiges of a past centuries ago, it is a clear element that links us as a society with our roots, with what are the hallmarks of the Ecuadorian people,” Valencia warned.
The return of the figures was possible thanks to the citizen Josef Rettinger, who received them as inheritance and voluntarily handed them over. In October of this year the figures arrived, under strict safety regulations.
On November 21, a sample of some figures was presented at the Memory and Cultural Heritage Research Center.
The recovery of the pieces is carried out by the National Committee to Fight the Illicit Traffic in Cultural Property, which monitors the goods that left the country irregularly.
The committee is made up of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Government, Culture, Prosecutor, among other entities.
Between 2010 and 2019, the Committee recovered 13,617 assets. Of that number, 7,180 objects were found in national operatives.
In addition, 6,437 pieces that were outside were rescued. According to data provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, since the Committee was formed, parts were repatriated from Italy, Peru and the USA.
However, in other cases, the procedures to recover them have proved complicated for Ecuador.
In some cases, country delegations refuse to return them on the grounds that they were acquired by museums, so they are not required to deliver them.
Article 240 of the Organic Integral Criminal Code (COIP), sanctions the crime of theft of assets with a prison sentence of three to five years.