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  • Writer's pictureVan Weyenbergh Fine Art

Extreme right-wing Mr. Alvim, head of culture in Brazil!

Brazil's extreme right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday, appointed his government's Roberto Alvim, an art director determined to lead a "crusade" against progressive ideas to the Secretariat of Culture.

The appointment of Mr. Alvim, 46, has been confirmed in a special edition of the Official Journal. He held the position of Director of the Performing Arts Center of the National Arts Foundation (Funarte), a public office that governs live art performance in Brazil.

Shortly after his election, a year ago, President Bolsonaro announced the cancellation of the Ministry of Culture, transformed into a simple secretariat of the Citizenship Department. But Thursday morning, the Official Gazette announced this time that the Secretariat for Culture, which corresponds to a state secretariat, would now be under the tutelage of the Ministry of Tourism. The Minister of Tourism, Marcelo Álvaro Antônio, has been questioned for several weeks in a scandal of fictitious candidates during the last general elections.

Roberto Alvim caused an uproar in late June, shortly after his appointment at the head Funarte, launching on social networks a call to "create a machine of cultural war" with the support of artists "aligned with conservative values." "We can say that it is a fight similar to that of the Crusades, we are fighting for our Judeo-Christian civilization, against its destruction by the progressive forces," he told AFP in July.

In September, he also caused outrage by criticizing social media for a monument of Brazilian culture, actress Fernanda Montenegro, a 90-year-old, Berlin Film Festival nominee. One of his predecessors as Secretary of Culture, Henrique Pires, slammed the door at the end of August, saying he preferred "being unemployed" to "applauding censorship."

Critics have rocketed in recent weeks in the arts against the Bolsonaro government, accused of censoring cultural projects, including on LGBT themes, by denying them access to public subsidies.

This article was published by AFP on November 8, 2019.

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