avoiding the destruction of Colombia’s Underwater Cultural Heritage

The congress of the Republic of Colombia is promoting a draft bill regarding Underwater Cultural Heritage that is against the scientific, social, and ethical principles that have regulated this heritage in the rest of the world.

The draft law:

1. Removes the category of heritage from certain objects that have always been considered as such. This consideration is based on subjective criteria and ignores the opinion of experts in the field.

2. Gives a commercial value to certain heritage objects, and authorizes the selling of such objects, treating them the same as petroleum, and ignoring the fact that archaeological heritage has no price and cannot be placed on the market.

3. Intends to extract these objects from the marine environment, thus destroying the context in which they are encountered, and eliminating any chance of rebuilding a story that Colombia has yet no knowledge of.

4. Confers the management of underwater heritage to “foreign multinationals”, experts in the extraction of objects, through direct contracting and bypassing the Colombian contracting laws.

5. Ignores the capacities of Colombian and foreign universities, NGO’s, Colombian experts, communities and public institutions, excluding them from any underwater heritage project to be carried out in the country.

On the contrary to what public opinion has been made to believe, the global trend is not selling underwater heritage, but protecting and researching it for the benefit and knowledge of the history of nations.

The Draft Bill 125/2011 “which regulates Articles 63, 70 and 72 of the Political Constitution of Colombia in regards to Underwater Cultural Heritage” is against the interests of the Colombian nation and benefits only a few

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