Over the past 20 years, numerous illegal exports of cultural objects have been intercepted, revealing an increased interest in antiquities from Central America and Mexico on the international market. This demand has encouraged clandestine diggings of archeological sites as well as increased theft from churches and museums.
The International Council of Museums (ICOM), Central American and Mexican institutions and authorities together with cultural heritage experts of these countries have rallied to make people aware of the disappearance of cultural property from several pre-Hispanic civilizations and from the colonial and republican eras.
In this context, ICOM published the Red List of Endangered Cultural Property of Central America and Mexico. It is the seventh in ICOM’s series of Red Lists which are geared toward the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property. This project received the support of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.
On the occasion of the launch of this publication, an awareness campaign is being organized which is aimed to highlight the importance of regional collaboration to prevent illicit traffic. This campaign began in Mexico on June 8th and will move progressively through the seven countries of Central America: Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.