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Colombia withdraws from pay rescue of galleon San Jose heritage of the wreck

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Updated:10/10/2019 03:21pm

The colombian Government will not pay for the rescue of the Spanish galleon San Jose, sunk in front of Cartagena de Indias in the EIGHTEENTH century by English privateers, with the heritage that is found in the wreck, as had been anticipated the previous Executive, informed this Wednesday the vice-president Marta Lucia Ramirez.

“To the current Government, this payment formula is unacceptable! What is in the galleon San José can have great economic value, but before anything else, each and every one of the pieces of the recovery are huge and incomparable cultural and historical value for Colombia and for the world,” said Ramirez in a statement in Cartagena de Indias.

The vice-president recalled that in order to rescue the San Jose, the previous Government of Juan Manuel Santos, launched a procurement process of a public-private partnership (PPP) that would be paid mostly with salvaged parts from the same galleon, unless they are declared as a world heritage on the basis of a controversial law passed shortly before it was made public its finding.

However, the colombian president, Ivan Duke, has repeatedly extended the deadline for hiring the company that needed to remove the San José before the fear of which involves the loss of national heritage, especially because of “the possibility that the payment to the contractor will be made through the delivery of parts extracted from the galleon”.

“Its historical and cultural wealth has no price, and the right of colombians to get to know, disseminate and preserve this cultural treasure is not traded and we cannot feriarlo by antique dealers in the world,” added Ramirez. The colombian Congress passed a law, 1675 July 30, 2013, which aims to “protect, highlight and recover the Cultural Heritage Submerged”.

According to this law, are part of that heritage any remains that are in the waters of colombia, including “the species náufragas constituted by the ships or naval artifacts and their endowment, their remains, or parts, envelopes or items lying within these, whatever their nature or state, and whatever the cause of the dive, sinking or wrecking”.

However, “are not considered to be cultural heritage submerged” to the “commercial loading constituted by materials in their rough state, whatever their origin, such as pearls, corals, precious and semi precious stones, sands and woods”, as well as the “goods furniture series that would have had exchange-value, or tax such as coins and bullion“.

It also includes the possibility of a public-private alliance for that, a company treasure hunt to recover the wreck and get a compensation of “up to 50 % of the value of the goods (in this case, in the galleon) that do not constitute cultural heritage of the nation.”

In this situation, the vice president said, “in the depths of the sea there’s just a bunch of cannons, pottery, and jewelry, and a handful of coins. There is a part of our history and of the trajectory of the New World and should never be despresada”. “The Galleon San Jose is one and indivisible! In it lies an important part and valuable of our history and of our cultural trajectory”, he stressed.

Ramirez had also stressed that the rescue of the San José should only be of benefit to the history of mankind” and must be “a contribution to knowledge and culture.” That’s why he said that the decision “is not only a conviction, is a matter of public interest and a Constitutional obligation” that must be met.

“The Constitution of Colombia gives to our cultural heritage a “constitutional protection reinforced” which means that we should give a special care, different from and superior to our archaeological heritage and the cultural heritage” which “should be preferred first of all to preserve all of the property that is redeemed at time of delivery to be sold in costly auctions around the world.” It also considered it “regrettable” that the Government of the Saints “would have agreed the payment with pieces of the rescue.”

“In the study we have found that the originator of the APP he insisted that the Santos Government sought a formula other than payment-in-kind, but it was the previous government which insisted in paying with parts of San Jose. We do not understand how they preferred to deliver our story in time to protect it,” added Ramirez.

The vice president explained that “in the coming days,” will be presented to the National Council of Cultural Heritage, the final report of the exploration carried out “with the request to recognize the San José and all the elements of the wreck as a collection of unique and indivisible”. The goal is to declare it as cultural heritage in its integrity and in this way “not a single splinter, or a single vessel, not a single coin, nor a single stone, nothing that is in the area of the wreck, may be marketed’.

“In front of the contractual process and in the strict application of the legal parameters contractual we will continue with him, but under the premise that we will do even the impossible to or a part of which is extracted can be placed on the market. The process of extraction and conservation of the parts requires high technology and no company more is presented in the process”, he concluded.

About the talks with Spain, which claims that the San Jose is a ship of State, Ramirez stressed that the Government have “a very friendly and very respectful”. “For us it is essential that we agree with Spain in the will that we both have governments that remain intact (the heritage), which is not delivered in kind to anyone and not commercialized”, he added.

Translated from ABC News https://www.abc.es/cultura/abci-colombia-desiste-pagar-rescate-galeon-san-jose-patrimonio-pecio-201910100321_noticia.html

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