Spain’s Queen Sofía in Bolivia for Odyssey Treasure Agreement
LA PAZ, BOLIVIA - Spain's Queen Sofia will begin a visit to Bolivia on Monday in search of an agreement with President Evo Morales on the fate of coins found in a sunken Spanish ship, which were minted with metals mined at Potosi Cerro Rico.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bolivia, Sofia will meet with Morales on Tuesday to facilitate the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries over the destiny of the coins found in the frigate Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes.
The agreement, however, will be signed by the secretary of Spain's International Cooperation agency, Jesús Gracia, and Bolivia's Minister of Culture, Pablo Groux.
The fortune that Nuestra Señora de Las Mercedes was carrying - about 600 thousand pieces of gold and silver - was rescued in 2007 by the U.S. company Odyssey, from the Atlantic Ocean and brought to this country without revealing exactly where they were found.
Spain, aware of the situation, argued that this was the ship sunk on October 4, 1804 by the English fleet, during a naval battle in front of the Portuguese coast, and initiated a legal proceedings to recover the treasure.
The Odyssey tried to keep possession of the loot, valued at about $500 million, but a judge ruled that it should be handed over to Spain, an action completed in late February this year.
Through its Minister of Culture Bolivia announced that it would claim its rightful treasure, because many of the recovered coins were minted at the Mint House of Potosi.
Morales's meeting with Queen Sofia, and the agreement to be signed by and Gracia and Group will clarify any remaining doubts about the future of the treasure, to which other countries of the region also aspire.
Courtesy Prensa Latina