“What we do not want in any way for others to solve problems that we have to solve, and we only demand that we are shown respect. We demand respect for the people’s free and sovereign decision,” – Venezuelan Culture Minister Ernesto Villegas
By Luisa Maria González
Paris, Apr 5 (Prensa Latina) Venezuela’s State and society are committed to the defense of their heritage in order to value the country’s rich and huge cultural diversity, Culture Minister Ernesto Villegas said in Paris.
In an interview with Prensa Latina during his visit to the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the minister noted the work done to register and catalog 120,000 national heritages, thus reflecting the country’s commitment to the valorization of cultural diversity.
According to Villegas, that wealth explains the Venezuelan people’s capacity to resist victoriously the biggest challenges they have met in the economic field, for example.
“We have lived through very tough times in our history, but we have remained united by our huge cultural wealth; therefore, we grant supreme importance to the work we do in conjunction with UNESCO,” he noted.
In that regard, he said that next year, Caracas will submit a dossier to propose the registration in the Intangible Heritage List of the tradition known as ‘palma bendita’ (sacred palm), which is practiced in the municipality of Chacao, in the state of Miranda.
If registered, “it would be the seventh of our cultural expressions that UNESCO has designated as Humankind Heritage,” he stressed.
Villegas also noted the will to share with the rest of the peoples and governments the experience developed by his country in the fight against the illegal trafficking of cultural heritage.
He recalled that recently, UNESCO acknowledged as an example of good practices the devolution by Venezuela of 196 archeological artifacts from Costa Rica’s heritage that were timely discovered by customs officers as they were exported illegally to the United States to be auctioned.
“We want to offer that experience to the rest of the countries. We think that it is a path on which we are walking for the benefit of all. We feel happy to cooperate with Costa Rica, because by doing so, we are cooperating with ourselves, with humankind,” he stated.
During his stay in Paris, Villegas chaired a meeting of the UNESCO chapter of the Non-Aligned Movement, at which several countries expressed their solidarity with Venezuela, which is facing growing international hostility.
According to the minister, “that gesture furthers our commitment not only to resist, but also to win amid the difficulties we face.”
Villegas underlined that Venezuela will hold presidential elections on May 20 and “there will be no obstacles to the Venezuelan people’s decision to vote, to resolve certain political circumstance through democratic means.”
“That is part of the political culture of Venezuelans, of the Venezuelan people, and we will see it, we will see high turnover rates,” he assured.
Villegas noted the importance of respect among nations as the only way to assure peaceful coexistence.
“What we do not want in any way for others to solve problems that we have to solve, and we only demand what we are shown respect. We demand respect for the people’s free and sovereign decision,” he noted.