Brazil’s Incoming President Vows to Restore a Disbanded Cultural Ministry

Brazil’s Incoming President Vows to Restore a Disbanded Cultural Ministry

As the Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva prepares to step into the presidential office next month, the country’s cultural sector has high hopes that he will undo the damage causes by his predecessor, the right-wing populist Jair Bolsonaro, the Art Newspaper reports.

On his first day in office, in 2019, Bolsonaro dissolved the Brazilian ministry of culture, a move that da Silva, who is known throughout the country as simply “Lula,” promised to reverse during his campaign. The cultural set also hopes that funding for the Rouanet Law, a federal tax incentive that funds cultural projects, will be given a sorely needed shot in the arm. 

During this time in office Bolsonaro cut funding for the Rouanet Law more than half, alleging that it “promoted corruption,” and placed right-wing cultural figures with little to no experience in prominent offices. Among them were the theatre director Roberto Alvim, who took on role of secretary of culture. 

Alvim was dismissed after, in a video posted to Twitter promoting a national arts prize, he paraphrased the words of Nazi propaganda mastermind, Joseph Goebbels. Alvim claimed the incident was a “rhetorical coincidence” in a video posted to Facebook. Unfortunately for him, the apology was scored by Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin, one of Adolf Hitler’s favorite pieces of music.

Lula has yet to name a secretary of culture, but, according to the Art Newspaper, “the singers Daniela Mercury and Chico César, and the politicians Jandira Feghali, Manoel Rangel and Juca Ferreira, who all have previous experience managing cultural projects.”

The left-leaning Lula, who served as president from 2003 to 2010, is massively popular in Brazil for helping raise millions of Brazilians out of poverty. Still, he won back the presidency by the slimmest of margins—he received just under 51 percent of the vote. This will be his third term as Brazil’s president.

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