CARACAS – Venezuelan authorities have vowed to submit a formal request for the repatriation of a 30-ton rock that currently sits in the downtown Tiergarten park in Berlin, Germany.
The 12-cubic-meter "Kueka" stone used to belong to an indigenous tribe in Venezuela called the Pemón, which consider it to be sacred. Kueka translates as "grandmother" in the language spoken by the Pemón, Telesurreports.
Then-president Rafael Caldera offered the stone in 1998 to a German artist named Wolfang von Schwarzenfeld, who took it from its original display site – in the Canaima National Park in southern Venezuela – and transported it to Berlin. Von Schwarzenfeld carved and polished the Kueka rock before putting on display as part of a project called "Global Stone."
Members of the Pemón tribe tried in vain to prevent the rock's departure from Venezuela, at one point blocking the highway along which the Kueka was being transported. Venezuela's ailing president, Hugo Chávez, has said on several occasions that Germany – which considers the stone a legitimate gift – should give up their claims.
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