The Aruba Treasure

Aruba

 

 

We will call her Wanda, a Russian blond. Some sources refer to her as a Spanish woman named Rosita. Either way, she met a man named Pedro de Cires in the United States, married and subsequently moved to Quito, Columbia. They moved into a Hacienda on the outskirts of town where they lived unhappily with their servant Congo. Congo was a lame black man in the employ of Pedro.

 

Wanda took a lover. A French man named Maurel. Pedro, who knew about it, decided to let the affair continue. 

 

Father Mugnoz was the parish priest of Sagraro in Quito, Columbia in the early 1800’s. Wanda, Pedro and Maurel were in his parish and the good father did not approve of the arrangement. One night, he went to Maurel’s house and removed the half naked Wanda. He then returned her to her husband.

 

Rebels moved into Quito and drove the Spanish from the area. Pedro took his wife, Congo and Father Mugnoz to a house he rented on the River Guayra in Caracas. From that location, he traded with the Indians.

 

Father Mugnoz was unable to continue to avoid the temptation offered by Wanda. He and Wanda became lovers. His fall from his own moral code began here and he swung all the way over to the other side. Pedro was found murdered, stabbed to death. Father Mugnoz and Wanda were both arrested for the crime and were awaiting trial when General Paez, Commanding Bolivar’s army, took Caracas. He granted a general amnesty that resulted in the release of Mugnoz and Wanda. Mugnoz, Wanda, Congo and a band of followers vanished together.

 

Two years later, on August 4, 1822, the Jamaican newspapers reported that the Emmanuel captured the Blessing, a sloop sailing from Cuba to Orabessa. The Emmanuel was a large schooner and was flying a black flag. The Blessing was under command of Captain Smith. When the Captain could not come up with ransom for his Cargo, he was forced to walk the plank. When he tried to swim back to the ship, he was shot. His fourteen-year-old son witnessed the crime and started sobbing. The Captain of the Emmanuel, later identified as Mugnoz, hit the boy in the head with his musket and threw him into the sea. He then set fire to the ship and set the remaining sailors adrift in a longboat.

 

The sailors were lucky and a schooner came across them. They were rescued and taken to Port Morant on July 18. The first mate filed the report to Admiral Ferguson.

 

Mugnoz continued his piracy in the Southern Caribbean. Over the next three years he plundered trading ships. Sometimes he would have the crew killed. Sometimes he would take them as prisoners. Mugnoz established his main base on Aruba, a few miles off Cape San Roman of Venezuela. It is reported that he would enter a narrow and dangerous passage and anchor in a bay near the southern tip of the island. From here they would enter a network of caverns on the Red Hill (Cerrito Colorado).

Mugnoz had three “chapels”. One was located on the Emmanuel, one at his base in the heights of northern Cuba and one in his Aruba base. He would take the prisoners to one of the chapels were a service would be held that included torturing the prisoners and then burning them. Congo would be the tormentor. Wanda was the sometimes the object of devotion. At the climax of the ceremony, Wanda would be handed over to the crew.

 

In 1825, Mugnoz disbanded his group. He parceled out shares of his treasure to his crew and he and Wanda retired. A crewmember, a Spaniard called Diaz, was captured and so was Congo. They both related the story. Congo added that much of the treasure was still buried in Aruba on Cerrito Colorado. Admiral Padilla, of the costal police, sent thirty men to search the area. They found ship’s sails, tools, a long chain attached to a manacle and an underground chapel with flowers and religious artifacts.

 

There has been nothing heard of from Mugnoz and Wanda since, or the treasure.