Posted 27 November, 2015 by-Ministry of Culture and Sports in News

Advances Smuggling Unit of Property of the Ministry of Culture and Sports

El Patrimonio Cultural de Guatemala se ha visto atacado por saqueadores que participan en el tráfico ilícito de bienes patrimoniales. For many years this situation has affected the country causing losses invaluable for culture.

This illegal activity is often rooted in high demand there is in the black market for these goods and at ease there to market.

These activities have grown at an unprecedented scale: the biggest losers were the museums, public and private collections, rightful owners, iglesias, religious cultural institutions and archaeological sites.

In Guatemala, constitutionally, is the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the administrative body responsible for the protection, defense, conservation, Guatemalan restoration and recovery of cultural heritage. For this reason, It was created within its structure, Department of Prevention and Control of Illicit Traffic of Cultural Property.

The function of this specialized department, which it operates within the Directorate of Cultural and Natural Heritage, It is to take necessary preventive and control measures to prevent and combat illicit trafficking of cultural property both domestically jurisdiction, and international.


The Department of Prevention and Control of Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property has worked on numerous cases which have made significant progress.

The Lic. Eduardo Hernández, jefe del Departamento, declaró, in all cases activated for search and recovery of cultural property subtracted.

One of the biggest problems facing the unit, is the lack of inventories and records of these goods, which greatly hampers recovery.

Now, the main tool that are available for the dissemination of information related to the loss or theft of cultural property, is the data-theft report called Object ID.

This chip is made with international standards and basic data that facilitate the spread of crime or loss, At national and international level.

Also, it has the institutional support of agencies such as the Customs Directorate of the SAT, INTERPOL NCB - Guatemala National Civil Police, the prosecution by the Prosecutor for Crimes against the Cultural Heritage of the Nation, Media, inter alia; and international level, UNESCO, INTERPOL, Embassies of Guatemala in the world and administrative bodies like the Ministry of Culture and Sports (Ministries, Offices, Institutes and Directorates).

Working together using these methods they have led to many success stories, as was the theft of the painting entitled "The Five Lords with Archangels", subtracted from the Church of St. Augustine in the area 1 capital city, abruptly, severely damaging it.

La obra poseía un registro, lo que facilitó la elaboración de la ficha de reporte de robo. This tab is reported at national and international level, two months after making the necessary investigations could be recovered painting.

Cultural property recovered by the Department of Prevention and Control of Illicit Traffic of Cultural Property, between religious properties and archaeological objects, totaling more than 5,000 Units from 2010.

Actions at national level

Among the actions taken at national level during the 2015, include the following:

a) The signing of the Framework inter-institutional cooperation between the MCD and the SAT, in order to protect cultural heritage in case of exports and imports of goods that comprise;

b) He trained about 250 police elements from different divisions and specialties of the National Civil Police, in order to be allies in the defense of cultural heritage;

c) Through actions promoted and coordinated with the MP (complaints and searches), were recovered 37 cultural goods;

d) With the financial support of the Foundation G&T Continental, It was possible to obtain 1,500 copies of the Law for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of the Nation, to distribute at training events or population that requires;

and) With Security and Justice Project USAID, within the component "Environmental Justice and Cultural Heritage in the MBR", three events of training on legal and technical aspects in organized crime against the natural and cultural heritage, training approximately 108 professionals and technicians working in CONAP, MP and MCD (Cultural Heritage - Peten).

f) With the Training Unit of the MP, various training activities on protection and defense of Cultural Heritage promoted.


a) "Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Guatemala and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt on Protection and Restoration of Cultural Property Stolen or Illegally transferred" was signed;

b) He contributed to the text of the Operational Guidelines of the UNESCO Convention 1970, same that were approved during the 3rd. Meeting of States Parties to the Convention;

c) Through the Safety and Justice Program of USAID, a visit to Peru to exchange experiences on protection of cultural heritage was held, and managing the archaeological site Machu Picchu;

d) Recovery is promoted 50 Cultural goods stalls at auctions abroad, in some cases the possible repatriation of these was handled.

Por: Gabriel Leal

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-Ministry of Culture and Sports