MOU between the US and Belize Closes Loophole

{credit}BBC{/credit}A recovered Maya artifact

In joining forces with the US to prevent looting, Belize stands in solidarity with its neighboring countries in the Maya region. The Honorable Jose Manuel Heredia, Belize Minister of Tourism and Culture, signed into effect a bilateral agreement between the governments of the United States and Belize under the 1970 UNESCO convention. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) places import restrictions on Pre-Columbian archaeological and Colonial-period ethnological objects from Belize entering the US. Similar bilateral agreements have already been in place between the US and Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. With this MOU, Belize is no longer an unwilling loophole for illegal antiquities smuggling in the Maya region.

Since the passing of the Ancient Monument Protection Ordinance in 1894, Belize has protected its rich cultural heritage with some of the most comprehensive antiquities policies in Central America. Scientifically excavated artifacts from Belize are on display in educational exhibits at on-site museums throughout Belize, as well as on loan to museums throughout the world. Please join us in celebrating this historic milestone.

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