Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa hailed the return to his country of thousands of archaeological pieces from Italy, the European nation where he broadcast Saturday his traditional weekly activity report, which was retransmitted to this Andean country.
"Returning from Italy is the greatest return in history, more than 4,600 archaeological pieces," Correa said, adding that the items being returned came largely from the Tolita culture.
The head of state said that these elements of national heritage were plundered from Ecuador because "there was no control," so that "tens of thousands of archaeological pieces" were lost, but said that now, under his administration, "thousands of these pieces are coming back."
Correa attended a ceremony Saturday at which the mayor of Genoa, Marco Doria, presented him with a symbolic example of the 4,858 archaeological pieces recovered in three cases where the illicit trafficking of national heritage goods was detected.
The Ecuadorian president expressed his gratitude to Genoa city hall and to the Italian government for the repatriation of this cultural heritage.
Correa, who visited Spain this week, began his visit to Italy on Saturday, where he also met with the Ecuadorian community. On Sunday he will attend the canonization of popes John XXIII and John Paul II. EFE