Kueka coming home. Photo: MPPREIn the sacred symbology of the Pemón indigenous community -which inhabits the lands of the Canaima National Park in the south of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela- the jasper stone of approximately 30 tons, called “Abuela Kueka” and known as “Piedra Kueka”, is considered guarantor of the balance and harmony of nature.

It was stolen from the Gran Sabana during the Rafael Caldera government in 1998, in a process that disrespected the regulation of the National Park as an Area Under Special Administration Regime, to be exhibited in the Tiergarten metropolitan park in Berlin, as a work of the plastic artist Wolfgang von Schwarzenfeld.

After the efforts undertaken by the National Government that since 2000, assumed the repatriation of the “Grandmother Kueka” as a historical debt to the indigenous peoples and communities and the consequent struggle of the fierce Pemón people, today January 20 begins its Removal process, to be transferred to its home, in the pemona community of Santa Cruz de Mapaurí.

The acceleration of this process is in the year 2010, when the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry focused on giving effect to the petition issued by the original people.

The repatriation of Grandmother Kueka, 22 years later, is the result of a friendly agreement, the constancy of the Pemón people and the effort of the Bolivarian Government of President Nicolás Maduro, emphasized the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, through his Twitter account.

Repatriation process

The process of repatriation of the Kueka stone to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela formally began in May 2018, with a healing ritual by a representation of the Pemón people who traveled to the German capital, considering it part of the cultural and spiritual heritage, and certain that upon its return the environmental and ecological balance of planetary dimensions will be restored, which the ancestral people consider, was broken by the separation of the Kueka Grandparents.

“We are here to give a spiritual healing ceremony to our grandmother because we found her sick; the grandmothers in her vision have seen her crying because she misses being in her mother earth: Venezuela”, said a young member of the indigenous community on that occasion.

The representatives of the ancestral people thanked the Government of Venezuela and its institutions for their efforts to the return of the Kueka stone.

By then, the People’s Power Minister for Foreign Relations, Jorge Arreaza, highlighted the character of equality, not only political but also in the established practice that the original peoples obtained since 1999.

A story that stays alive in the Pemón people

Grandma Kueka is a wise and protective old woman of the town and her story refers to a beautiful and fierce love legend.

The Pemón and Macuxi communities were enemies since time immemorial and their villages separated with strict zeal for the God Makunaima, until Taure Pam, a young man from the Pemón community, married the most beautiful girl in the Macuxi community, disrespecting the established norms.

The irreverent lovers escaped, breaking the rules of the god Makunaima, who forbade the union between the two peoples, so they were turned into stone, to live eternally together.


People’s Power Ministry for Foreign Relations of Venezuela