PANAMA: The director of the National Institute of Culture (INAC), Mariana Núñez, untied the current administration of the decisions made by the previous government in relation to the project 'identification, retrieval and rescue Galleon San Jose'.
Postcard used by UNESCO to promote the Convention on Underwater Cultural Heritage
Among the decisions taken during the management of María Eugenia Herrera (INAC) and Sandra Cerrud (National Directorate of History and DNPH Heritage), was granted a permit to the company Marine Research del Istmo SA (imdi) for rescue and sharing wreck of the galleon sunk in the Gulf of Panama in 1631, with the greatest treasure until then sent to Spain from the colonies.
'The INAC does not guarantee that the project has been done in the most beneficial way for the nation' Nunez said in a statement to La Estrella de Panama, following coverage hereby given to the distribution of assets of more than 400 years old (65% were imdi and 35% to the State) and a probable sales scheme set up by the company (www.sanjose1631.com).
'We understand that there is a valid concern about the fate of cultural property associated with the wreck. That is why we have raised queries to the Secretariat of the Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage of Unesco and requested the assistance of international experts, "the statement said.
'We are evaluating the legal origin of the decisions of the DNPH of the past administration, based on the concession contract awarded by the state through the Ministry of Economy and Finance. What does guarantee this administration is that if it is determined that no legal support, proceed to repeal those resolutions' said Nunez.
WHAT IS AT STAKE
Consultations with Unesco and decisions take this administration subsequently hang many interests, including the final distribution to be given to the treasure from the most spectacular colonial-era shipwreck occurred in Panamanian waters, consisting of thousands of coins gold, gold, silver and precious stones and other historical artifacts, rescued by the company imdi after a huge investment.
In game also permits and concessions would in the future be granted to this company, which has a contract of exclusivity until 2018 to explore the waters of the isthmus and rescue assets located.
To continue the current state of affairs, if the company had gotten remains of some of the 87 shipwrecks between XVI and XIX (56 of them colonial) centuries, could retain up to 65% of the goods found.
La Estrella de Panama has been known that the current administration of INAC under pressure from various international groups, including Unesco and the Spanish Government, to give strict adherence to the Convention for the Conservation of Underwater Cultural Heritage, signed by Panama in 2003.
This convention, in force since 2009 (four years before permits were granted rescue imdi), has, in the legal framework, equal weight to the country's constitution.
The Convention considers underwater cultural heritage 'all traces of human existence having a cultural, historical or archaeological character which have been under water, partially or completely, periodically or continuously, for at least 100 years' (vessels, aircraft or any part thereof, their cargo or other contents, together with their archaeological and natural context).
The convention gives preference to these remain in situ (on the site where they are), and that the goods are preserved in the long term. It also emphasizes that these 'should not be commercially exploited'.
PROJECT SAN JOSÉ
The project called San José was formalized through a contract signed between Panama and the company imdi in 2003, under President Mireya Moscoso. However, the contract spent several years in the Supreme Court, to be challenged on several occasions.
After being cleared the last fault in the highest court of the country in 2010, the company managed to be imdi extendiese the contract. This paved the way, in turn, so that in 2013 the DNPH grant him permission to raise property found at the archaeological site of San José, in the archipelago of Las Perlas.
In return, according to Resolution 136-13, signed by the then director of DNPH Sandra Cerrud, the company undertook to provide assistance to the recovered underwater cultural heritage, collaborate with the establishment of a museum that allows the permanent exhibition pieces of the wreck and publish a scientific work and historical research on exploration and rescue.
According to article four of this resolution, the company has until August 28, 1015 for rescue operations.
In the sixth clause of Resolution, the DPHN imdi gives permission to 'dispose of objects of commercial value that are part of their compensation'.
This also indicates that 'the state will provide permits or safe conduct necessary for his departure'.
INAC CHALLENGES THE PRESS SIGNED BY MARIANA NÚÑEZ HEREBY SENT TO POINT OUT THAT 'THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION INAC FACES SERIOUS CHALLENGES HISTORICAL HERITAGE', BUT HOWEVER, THE COMPANY HAS ATTEMPTED TO ESTABLISH A HEALTHY AND CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT OF FACE COMMITMENTS TO STATE TO UNESCO '. SO FAR NÚÑEZ ADMINISTRATION HAS BEEN CONCENTRATED IN NATURE PRESERVE THE WORLD HERITAGE OF THE OLD TOWN OF PANAMA, WHAT TO FIND AT RISK '.
UNESCO ADVISOR TO INAC
Study concessions given to the company by the DNPH imdi.
Imdi retains 65% of the salvaged from the seabed objects.
Among the objects coins and silver bars and gold jewelry and diamonds are included.
Courtesy; La Estrella de Panama