Five ex-incumbents of the Ministry of Culture met on Tuesday, July 2, to reveal a document in which they criticize policies of the Bolsonaro administration regarding the sector. The former ministers particularly criticize the president’s decision to dissolve the MinC, arguing that culture is essential, among other things, for the economic development of the country.
Here is the text in full:
Manifesto by ex-ministers of culture
We, former ministers of culture who served Brazil under different presidents, express our concern about the devaluation of and hostility toward Brazilian culture. We reaffirm the importance of culture in three basic dimensions: as an expression of our identity and diversity, as a fundamental right, and as a vector of economic development, contributing decisively to the generation of employment and income. Creating and enjoying culture improves the quality of life and allows the full human development of all Brazilians.
Thus, it is senseless to continuously reduce resources for the cultural sector. This has been due to the contingency of the National Fund for Culture and the demonization of incentive systems, notably the Rouanet Law.
The State has non-transferable responsibilities in guaranteeing the social and cultural development of the country, and in ensuring that the cultural rights of the Brazilian people are met. The sector provides spaces, opportunities and autonomy for culture to take place. The democratic State needs to provide the necessary conditions for all people to have access to cultural patrimony. We watch with concern the growing antagonism of the arts and culture, which seeks to weaken the country’s achievements during our democratic years. The first and most fundamental of the State's responsibilities is to guarantee full freedom of expression.
The past feeds the future. Thus, the preservation of institutional achievements and laws approved by Congress cannot be ignored by any government. The dissolution of the Ministry of Culture is a mistake. The Ministry ensured that culture and art flourished in Brazilian life. Even with limited resources, the Ministry was able to defend, formulate, foment, create and innovate the state's relationship with society in the field of culture, with respect to Brazilian traditions hailing all the way from imperial times.
Brazilian art and culture, in addition to its domestic relevance, have contributed to a positive image of the country abroad. The effective interest in various Brazilian cultural manifestations and fields is a reason for pride and an important asset in the affirmation of the country around the world.
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Nassim Majidi, Co-Founder of Samuel Hall where she leads research and policy development on migration and displacement. She also teaches a graduate course on Refugees & Migration as part of Sciences Po Lille’s Conflict and Development Programme.
Claudio Formisano, an international affairs expert with 15 years of experience in designing and managing multi-sectoral programmes to address human trafficking, the smuggling of migrants and in fostering human rights compliance.
Léa Yammine, Deputy Director at Lebanon Support, an independent research centre based in Lebanon and multi-disciplinary space creating synergies and bridges between the scientific, practitioner, and policy spheres.
Chair, Preethi Nallu, an independent journalist, writer and film-maker focused on migration and displacement. She is founding editor at Refugees Deeply, a multimedia journalist at openDemocracy and a media collaborations specialist at International Media Support.