Venezuela has proposed returning to the Democratic Republic of Congo cultural artifacts from that country that were donated to Venezuela by King Leopold III of Belgium in 1954. The art pieces were stolen by Belgian colonizers from the Democratic Republic of Congo when that country was under the rule of the Belgian monarchy.
Venezuelan Minister of Culture Ernesto Villegas announced that Venezuela proposes the repatriation of the cultural artifacts to the Congo if the authorities of that country want so.
Está en #Venezuela, invitado a la #Filven2022, Roland Lumumba, hijo del líder revolucionario congolés Patricio Lumumba. Tuve honor de acompañarlo a ver la expo “Arte y reparación: una cita con El Congo” en el Museo de Bellas Artes, con piezas donadas por… + 🧵 #LeerDescoloniza pic.twitter.com/9Z3R9IAPpH
— Ernesto Villegas Poljak (@VillegasPoljak) November 16, 2022
Minister Ernesto Villegas made these statements after Roland Lumumba, son of the Congolese independence hero Patrice Lumumba, visited Venezuela to attend the International Book Fair of Venezuela (FILVEN 2022). Roland Lumumba appreciated the proposal made by the Venezuelan government to repatriate the Congolese cultural pieces.
Roland Lumumba is an anti-imperialist anti-colonialist leader, promoter of Pan-African solidarity, and president of the Patrice Emery Lumumba Foundation.
“Roland is going to take with him audiovisual record of all these pieces, so that the Congolese authorities can assess and decide if they are interested in a possible repatriation of one or all of the pieces,” said Villegas. “If they are interested, it will be a real pride and pleasure for us to repatriate all the pieces.”
“We do not want to hold a single piece against the will of the people of the Congo,” added the Venezuelan minister. “Who donated it to us did not represent the Congo, he represented an imperial colony. If the cultural heritage of the Congo is more complete with the return of these pieces, we will be happy to return them where they should be.”
At this gesture of solidarity on the part of the Venezuelan government, Roland Lumumba said, “On behalf of the Congolese government and of the Lumumba Foundation that I preside, I will do everything possible to bring an expert and to continue the process with the Venezuelan government and complete it.”
“I think we are going to start with culture in order to achieve economic and social cooperation, and if we can move forward we will be able to expand the cultural exchange to other artistic disciplines. A fruitful exchange between our peoples, then we should plan a next meeting,” Lumumba added.
“We always talk about South-South cooperation, but I never expected an act of solidarity like this,” he said.
Lumumba thanked Villegas and the Venezuelan government for having preserved the artifacts and for proposing an eventual restitution if the Congolese government so wishes.
“It is a great gesture of solidarity,” Lumumba stressed.
He visited the exhibition Art and Reparation: An Appointment with the Congo at the Museum of Fine Arts, Caracas, accompanied by Minister Villegas, as part of the activities of FILVEN 2022.
The Congo’s friendship with Venezuela
Lumumba stated that the prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo entrusted him with the mission to inquire about the modality of the possible repatriation of the Congolese artifacts.
“I am going to report on what we have seen here and on Venezuela’s proposal, and on the friendship between the peoples of Venezuela and Congo,” said Lumumba.
He spoke about his participation in the Afrodescendant Forum. “I believe that this is the first concrete action, without protocol, and we must go on moving forward in this direction,” he expressed.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
scorinocohttps://orinocotribune.com/author/sahelicot92/December 1, 2023