domingo, enero 07, 2007

¡URGENTE! MOU/Convenio Perú-EE.UU. debe renovarse

Apoye la renovación del tratado de protección de bienes arqueológicos

Vea documento explicativo.

He aquí el documento, en inglés, que he preparado (versión en castellano)

Members of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee
Department of State, Washington, D.C.
FAX (202) 453-8803

Dear Members,

I wish to encourage your support for the renovation of the MoU between the US government and the government of Peru. This document has been an essential piece of bilateral understanding subscribed with the sole and visionary belief of promoting cultural heritage as an essential pillar of today’s democratic societies. As such it has allowed the birth of an increasingly stronger sense of national ownership of the vestiges of Peru’s ancestors. But there is more to be done, and the existence of a document such as the MoU is a driving force for further social and cultural changes.

You will learn during these hearings about the progress made in Peru’s cultural scene. It is a direct consequence of the attention given by our governments to the serious issue of the traffic of antiquities. This issue implies tackling problems that span from the preservation of heritage to the fight against illegal enrichment of dealers and traffickers in both our countries. The attention and control of antiquities traffic as prescribed by the current MoU ought not lessen and should be pursued with the same rigidity as other problematic social areas; looting and antiquities trafficking are problems as acute as drug-trafficking and illegal immigration.

However, unlike the later two, the destruction of cultural heritage and antiquities theft are problems that can be tackled with policies of community awareness through the expansion of the museum network offered to the public and the opening of new sites for field visits. In other words, providing more resources for a closer contact with the past is a vehicle for a deeper understanding of its importance and ubiquity in a country like Peru. These resources can develop and are effective, I believe, only while there is a decrease in the magnitude in the traffic of artifacts and looting of monuments.

The period since the last renovation of the MoU by your institution has seen in Peru an extremely positive change in the trend in the work of archaeologists and museographers: they have gained center stage in the making of culture opening new museums, proposing new ventures, presenting more striking results. There has been a large investment in museums and creation of new archaeological site centers. Confidence in the political setting has opened real interests for tourism as a viable sustainable option for communities otherwise isolated in a full-blown market economy. The government through a cultural plan of “development poles” has given the change to researchers and communities to undertake management plans geared towards attracting cultural tourism and ecological tourism. These plans are in great part attractive while it is well known that there is no future in trafficking antiquities and that their presence in the country, in public, urban or rural museums, face-to face with the public, is a highly economic and cultural asset.

On the other hand, this task is firmly supported by a strong program of research by national and foreign archaeologists, who bring into light, gradually, more significant and diverse discoveries in a climate of increased security, provided in great part by firmer community awareness. Today, archaeologists can confidently undertake the task of excavating large tombs, a task mostly reserved to looters and enjoyed by collectors not long ago. With such perspective they can undertake long-terms projects in settlements and valleys. With renewed support archaeologists can establish fruitful relationships with local communities, resulting in concrete steps for the promotion of their towns and archaeological attractions. These are concrete consequences of the laws and rules that regulate cultural heritage and its lawful exchange among nations.

In this context of better research conditions, let me remind you the role the US plays in this whole process, from excavation to dissemination, to your end, the government. Important sums of money have been invested in the last decades for archaeological research, granted principally by the National Science Foundation. The tighter controls on trafficking and the consequent decrease in looting has been, without doubt, of major impact to the important US based academic body; in such conditions archaeologists have been able to be more present, undertake more complex tasks and to widen their commitments and advance the understanding of Prehispanic societies in Peru.

I hope that my ideas for supporting the renewal of the MoU are only additional arguments to what my colleagues have contributed to your attention for your informed decision. I believe that a MoU renewed for another period with only embolden civil society, academic bodies and museum circles to further strengthen the important trends that have started in the last decade.


Alvaro Higueras-Hare, PhD.


5 Comentarios:

Anonymous Arturo Gómez said...

Hola Álvaro, que excelente que tengas tu blog. Llegué mediante los links del Peruanista y de hecho que te enlazaré en mi blog también. Te felicito por Tiwanakuarcheo, una de las mejores del arqueología andina. Saludos desde el blog Amautacuna de Historia.

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