Indigenous Peoples Claim Uruguay Bounty

By Vivek Chaudhary, Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, July 28, 1992 | Go to article overview

Indigenous Peoples Claim Uruguay Bounty


Vivek Chaudhary, Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


A SUDDEN gust of wind rocks the Tiger, a black inflatable dinghy floating in the murky brown water of the Rio de la Plata, just outside the port of Montevideo. As torrential rain descends from the overcast morning sky, a diver emerges from the water and is helped onto the Tiger before it turns and heads toward the nearby beach, where Ruben Collado is watching anxiously.

Mr. Collado, a 55-year-old Argentine, has good reason to be concerned about the premature end of the day's work. Barely 500 yards from where he stands lies one of the world's most valuable treasures, valued at $400 million to $500 million.

It is also one of the most contentious. South American indigenous groups are demanding the treasure be returned to the descendants of its original owners, the continent's native peoples.

For two years, Collado's team of eight divers has been scavenging the rocky seabed near Montevideo, collecting the riches of the Preciado, a French ship chartered by the Spanish in 1792. As the Preciado was leaving the city's port, English pirates attacked and sank it. The ship and its coveted booty of gold, silver, emeralds, and rubies lay 26 feet below sea level for nearly 200 years until Collado gathered a team of divers and experts to get it.

Code-named "Brujas," the operation to rescue the treasure has so far recovered 1,600 gold coins, a number of silver coins, gold bars, cannons, and cannonballs. Each of the gold coins is valued at more than $15,000, and it could take up to 10 years to recover all the treasure. Divers, sometimes working nearly 14 hours per day depending on the weather, are now concentrating their search on a life-size gold statue of the Virgin Mary that the Preciado was taking to Europe.

"It is the most precious and valuable piece of the treasure. But we are having terrible problems with the weather.... It is a very slow and dangerous process," Collado says.

The former professional diver carries in his wallet the first gold and silver coins recovered, and he proudly displays them to visitors. The rest of the recovered treasure lies in the vaults of the Bank of Uruguay, and all profits from its sale will be split equally between Uruguay's government and Collado and his backers, whose identities have been kept secret.

South America's indigenous groups, however, are demanding that at least part of the money from the sale of the treasure be given to the native people from whom it was originally plundered by Spanish conquistadors.

Their anger is compounded by this year's celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of Columbus's arrival. The treasure's return, they argue, is the least compensation that should be given to a people who suffered enslavement and near-genocide at the hands of the white colonizers. Its presence in Uruguay is particularly ironic as indigenous people there have been all but wiped out in the last 500 years.

"The important thing to remember is that the riches that were stolen from South America helped in the development of Europe and led to the underdevelopment of this continent," says Carlos Fuentes, coordinator general of the Argentine Aboriginal Foundation, a group representing indigenous people in South America. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Indigenous Peoples Claim Uruguay Bounty
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.