Brazilian Government Reinstates Culture Ministry in Political U-Turn

Nation-wide protests from the arts community had an impact.

Acting Brazilian President Photo: Michel Temer EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images

The move to subsume the Brazilian cultural ministry into the education ministry following the recent impeachment and suspension of President Dilma Rousseff has been reversed.

Interim President Michel Temer will reinstate the cultural ministry, which was to be merged with education to save money, on Monday. Bitter protests from the arts and culture community followed the initial announcement to fold the ministry and in fact, it is thought that the government was persuaded to reverse the decision as a result of the general outcry from the strong cultural community in Brazil, according to Reuters.

Photo: Ocupa MinC RJ Facebook.

Photo: Ocupa MinC RJ Facebook.

After the announcement was made on May 12, Brazil’s cultural elite, including many artists, filmmakers, musician, and members of cultural organizations staged an occupation of government buildings across 11 cities in Brazil.

Caetano Veloso and Erasmo Carlos, well-known musicians from the tropicalia and rock and roll movements in Brazil, then held a concert in the occupied Education building in Rio de Janeiro last Friday, May 20, in protest of the decision.

Immediately after the decision to fold the ministry of culture was made public, Temer caused further ire by appointing Marcelo Calero as culture minister after promising he would appoint a woman in the role. In an effort to win over the creative community, Temer offered the positions of running the scaled-back cultural ministry to the actress Bruna Lombardi and the singer Daniela Mercury who both refused the offer.

Photo: Ocupa MinC RJ Facebook.

Photo: Ocupa MinC RJ Facebook.

This is the latest reversal of policy made by the interim government following the impeachment of left-wing President Rousseff and a rush by her right-leaning successors to push through changes.

Planning minister Romero Jucá announced via Twitter that further austerity measures would be put into place on Tuesday after meeting on Saturday with Temer and finance minister Minister Henrique Meirelles.

The move to cut the ministry was made as part of an effort by Temer to reduce the number of government ministries from 23 to 10. The ministry will be reinstated by presidential decree with new culture minister Calero taking office on Monday, May 30.

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