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Protecting Nicaragua's Heritage


Archaeological pieces seized by Nicaraguan police. (File)

The United States demonstrates its continued respect for the cultural heritage of Nicaragua and its concern for the irretrievable loss of information about human history.

The cultural heritage of Nicaragua will continue to be protected by the United States thanks to the extension of the "Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Nicaragua Concerning the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Archaeological Material from the Pre-Hispanic Cultures of the Republic of Nicaragua."

The U.S. Embassy in Managua and the Ministry of Foreign of Affairs of Nicaragua have exchanged diplomatic notes to extend the agreement. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has published notification of the extended restrictions in the Federal Register.

Effective October 20, 2010, this extension signifies a continuation of cooperation that began in 2000 following Nicaragua’s request for assistance from the United States pursuant to Article 9 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The United States demonstrates its continued respect for the cultural heritage of Nicaragua and its concern for the irretrievable loss of information about human history.

Recognizing that this heritage is in jeopardy from pillage, the agreement enables the imposition of import restrictions on certain categories of archaeological material ranging in date from approximately 8000 B.C. to approximately A.D. 1500, including objects made of ceramic, stone, gold, and shell. The agreement also calls upon both governments to encourage academic institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and other organizations to cooperate in the exchange of knowledge and information about the cultural patrimony of Nicaragua, and to collaborate in its preservation and protection.

The Department of Homeland Security first published a Designated List of restricted categories of objects in the Federal Register in October 2000. The restricted objects may enter the United States if accompanied with an export permit issued by the government of Nicaragua or documentation verifying its provenance prior to 2000 and if no other applicable U.S. laws are violated. The Designated List and more information about the agreement can be found on the website of the U.S. Department of State’s Cultural Heritage Center.

The extension is consistent with a recommendation made by the Cultural Property Advisory Committee to the Department of State. The Committee is a presidentially appointed body established to make findings and recommendations to the Department on these matters. The United States is proud to work with its partner, Nicaragua, to help preserve a priceless heritage of the Nicaraguan people.

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