Understanding Guatemala’s Cultural Heritage: Extending Protection to Colonial Art in the Memorandum of Understanding Between the United States and Guatemala
32 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2010 Last revised: 11 May 2011
Date Written: September 27, 2010
The UNESCO Convention of 1970 was a watershed for the protection of cultural property around the world. In 1983 the United States enacted implementing legislation, and it committed to enforce the Convention on a case-by-case and nation-by-nation basis. The United States has passed statutes, issued executive orders and entered into 14 bilateral treaties to meet its obligations. The President enters renewable treaties to protect a foreign nation’s cultural property after receiving advice from the Cultural Property Advisory Committee. One of those treaties protects pre-Colombian objects originating in Guatemala, but it is incomplete in that it fails to protect colonial art. This article sets forth the risk to which colonial art is exposed in Guatemala, analyzes other bi-lateral treaties negotiated in the Latin American region and concludes that when the Guatemalan treaty is next up for renewal that the Cultural Property Advisory Committee should recommend that it be expanded to cover colonial art – and the President and Guatemala should implement that recommendation.
Keywords: Guatemala, cultural property, MOU, CPAC, treaty, heritage, cultural heritage, colonial, art, native, indigineous, UNESCO, pre-Colombian, Colombian, culture, colonialism
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