The U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce the extension of the “Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Honduras Concerning the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Archaeological Materials from the Pre-Columbian Cultures of Honduras.” Ambassador Hugo Llorens, representing the Government of the United States, and Minister of Culture, Arts, and Sports Dr. Rodolfo Pastor Fasquelle, representing the Government of Honduras, exchanged diplomatic notes in a ceremony in Tegucigalpa on March 3, 2009, to extend the agreement.
Effective March 12, 2009, this extension represents a continuation of cooperation that began in 2004 when the United States implemented import restrictions to stem the problem of pillage of Honduras’ rich pre-Columbian heritage and the illicit trafficking in such material. 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 1200 B.C. to approximately 1500 A.D., including objects made of ceramic, metal, stone, shell, and animal bone. The agreement also calls upon both governments to encourage academic institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and other private entities to cooperate in the exchange of knowledge and information about the cultural patrimony of Honduras, and to collaborate in its preservation and protection.
This U.S. action is in response to a request made by the Government of Honduras under 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 and the extension is consistent with a recommendation made by the Cultural Property Advisory Committee to the Department of State. By extending this agreement, the United States demonstrates its continued respect for the cultural heritage of Honduras and decries the global pillage that results in illicit trade in cultural objects and the irretrievable loss of information about human history.
The Department of Homeland Security published a Designated List of restricted categories of objects in the Federal Register on March 16, 2004. The extension of the restriction was published in the Federal Register on March 11, 2009. The restricted objects may enter the United States if accompanied with an export permit issued by the government of Honduras or documentation verifying its provenance prior to 2004 and if no other applicable U.S. laws are violated. The Designated List and information about the agreement can be found at http://exchanges.state.gov/chc.html.