Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Brazilian Artists Prevent Culture Ministry Shutdown

Marcelo Calero was sworn on Tuesday as Brazil’s new Culture Minister under Acting President Michel Temer though that was not under the new leader’s original plans. Temer originally opted to merge the Ministry of Culture (MC) into the Education Ministry but days ago reinstated the department following campaigning by the local artistic community.

The main thrust came from the “Ocupa MinC” movement that mobilized to voice their discontent against Temer’s actions. Hundreds of artists, musicians, actors and others protested by taking over MC buildings in twenty-three cities throughout Brazil. In the Teatro Oficina in Sao Paulo, for instance, demonstrators at their sit-in chanted the popular song “Baile de Favela” as a form of resistance. Renowned música popular brasileira singers Caetano Veloso and Erasmo Carlos performed in concert last week at the MC headquarters for Rio de Janeiro.

MinC is ours (and) is a victory of the Brazilian state.  It does not represent any government,” said Veloso who left Brazil under exile during the repressive military rule of the 1970s.

“Any person who thinks culture is superfluous is someone out of touch with the identity of our nation,” declared Carlos in an apparent message for Temer.

Other artists aligned to Ocupa MinC are not only upset at Temer but also outraged over the process that led to impeachment proceedings against his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff. In a video purportedly produced by Ocupa MinC and embedded at the top of this post, at least eleven figures criticize the “illegitimate government” under Temer for removing eight other ministries including those representing women, indigenous communities and human rights.

“The fight for democracy does not have a deadline,” actress Marieta Severo mentioned at the end of the video.

In the end, the naming of Calero as Culture Minister could split protesters between those satisfied with the return of the MC and others who are detractors of the Temer regime. In the former category, the president of Brazil’s Theater Producers Association said that reinstating the MC “demonstrates the power of civil society” regardless of their opinions towards the new administration. On the other hand, actress and musician Ana Lúcia Pardo declared that thirteen years of “political culture” gained under Rousseff and her predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva would be unraveled by the current “illegal” government.

Temer came under fire when, upon taking power nearly two weeks ago, he selected a cabinet entirely of white males.  The controversy over his advisors has not been limited to their racial and gender composition:
Brazil’s planning minister resigned from office on Monday after a recording of him was made public.
The recording appears to show Romero Jucá plotting the impeachment of now-suspended President Dilma Rousseff. He reportedly was talking with a former oil company official about how to stop a corruption investigation.
Jucá denies the allegations. He claimed that the words he said were taken out of context….

In the transcript, Jucá said "We have to change the government so the bleeding is stopped."
Rousseff, who is under 180-day suspension from the presidency while an impeachment trial takes place, said the recording proves that her adversaries plotted a “coup” against her.

YouTube Source – Satélite Giratório

Online Sources (English) – Bloomberg, artNet News, Voice of America

Online Sources (Portuguese) – O Globo, Diario Pernambuco, Reporter Diario,

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