Thursday, June 10, 2010

Connecticut Senator Sides with Peru Against Yale

Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut has issued a statement that appears to support Peru's claims against Yale regarding disputed artifacts from Machu Picchu. See

Oddly though, the story also quotes Dodd as saying, "The Machu Picchu artifacts do not belong to any government, to any institution, or to any university.... They belong to the people of Peru. I plan to work with both parties to resolve this dispute quickly, amicably, and return the artifacts to their rightful owners." (emphasis added.)

One thus wonders who Dodd thinks should hold the artifacts on behalf of the people of Peru, if not its government.

Dodd's statements also need to be put in some context. Artdaily fails to mention it, but Dodd has been a consistent supporter of left-wing causes in Latin America throughout his career. See Under the circumstances, he is likely not approaching this particular issue as some neutral mediator.

One also must wonder whether Yale really cares all that much what Dodd thinks at this point. Dodd decided to retire from the Senate earlier this year rather than face the wrath of irate voters angry that he had received special treatment from a mortgage company that fell within the oversight of the Senate Banking Committee, which he chairs. See It certainly has not helped Dodd's political legacy that the company in question-- Countrywide-- helped spark the nation's sub-prime mortgage crisis. And, then, Dodd got into further political trouble when he was accused of helping to preserve the bonuses of executives of insurance giant AIG, which had just received a huge federal bailout.

Ironically, Hiram Bingham, who brought the artifacts to Yale in the first place, also once represented Connecticut as a U.S. Senator. See And, as his biography notes, like Dodd, Bingham also left the Senate under somewhat of a cloud.

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