Speaking on Saturday, Argentinian president Cristina Kirchner said, the country will return thousands of archaeological pieces that were stolen from South American neighbors.
Speaking at the National Museum of Fine Art in the capital she said, "We are doing something unusual, really special: restoring cultural wealth to other countries, in this case Ecuador and Peru. We are returning to them more than 4,000 pieces that had been stolen and have been recovered."
The president did not describe the artifacts in question or when and from whom they were stolen.
She went on to say that "the world we live in is one in which great powers fight to control the cultural riches of other people. One can see in the great museums of the world pieces from Greece, Syria, Egypt, Asia and even Latin America, and which have not been returned."
So "just as they should with medicinal patents (using indigenous plants), countries that hold onto cultural riches and refuse to give them back, at least should pay some kind of royalty to the countries they are from," Kirchner argued, "since they were made by cultures other than their own."
Excluded from running again by term restrictions, Kirchner, 62, is not running for any post in Argentina's general elections set for October 25th.
The president urged other nations to follow the example.