• Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard is in Denver to supervise the repatriation of Mexico's most sought after pre-Hispanic artifact. 
  • The "portal of the underworld," also called Chalcatzingo Monument 9, was illegally removed from Mexico decades ago. 
  • It was recovered by the Foreign Ministry in collaboration with U.S. authorities.

This Friday, "The portal of the underworld" or Chalcatzingo Monument 9 will return to Mexico, after being taken from the country more than fifty years ago.

The piece was repatriated today on a Mexican Air Force flight from Denver, in an operation supervised by Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.

The approximately 2,500-year-old monument was for decades Mexico's number one priority  in terms of recovering its historical heritage.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the Office of the Legal Advisor of the Foreign Ministry and the Mexican consulate in New York discovered where the artifact was located and began a diplomatic and legal strategy that, in collaboration with the Manhattan District Attorney's Office and U.S. government agencies, led to the recovery of the sculpture.

"The piece has great meaning for our conception of ourselves... What is being restored to us explains where we come from, and that it is part of the heritage of the Mexican people," said the Foreign Secretary.

“The piece confirms the importance of the Olmec civilization,  one of the oldest and most outstanding civilizations of the world. One of the first civilizations that developed writing, and the zero,” he added.

Foreign Secretary Ebrard also underscored the close cooperation between Mexico and the U.S., saying that “We have done this with the United States, which shows that when we work together we achieve results; this is testimony that Mexico-U.S. cooperation can be extraordinary.” 

Secretary Ebrard highlighted the priority that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Dr. Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller give to recovering Mexico's heritage.

The "Portal of the Underworld" will return to Morelos where it will be exhibited.

The event marking the repatriation of the relief carving was attended by Colorado Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera; Chief Officer for North America Roberto Velasco; the Consul General of Mexico in Denver, Pavel Hernández; the Consul General of Mexico in New York, Jorge Islas; and INAH archaeologist Mario Córdova.