Former Minister of Culture Juca Ferreira. PHOTO: Disclosure

For the ex-Minister of Culture Juca Ferreira, “those who work with art and culture in Brazil today live in fear and insecurity”. “We are heading towards a situation that points to censorship, persecution of those who think differently and are critical, and that the entire cultural and artistic area will be treated as the enemy”, he says. And he continues: “We can say, without drama, that we are heading towards the end of the State's contribution to the cultural development of Brazil”.

The criticism of Juca, who took over the portfolio during the administrations of Lula and Dilma Roussef and was Secretary of Culture of the city of São Paulo in the administration of Fernando Haddad, refers to the new rules of the Rouanet Law, to the suspension of transfers from Ancine (Agência Nacional de Cinema), based on a decision by the TCU (Union Court of Auditors), and the withdrawal of sponsorship for cultural projects by public companies, notably Petrobras.

After a troubled week for the cultural milieu, which involved a great reaction from artists and intellectuals to the recent decisions of the Jair Bolsonaro government, Ferreira says that “the president-elect has decided to declare war on art and culture”. “As if the problems the country is facing and the government's crises weren't enough… A deep economic crisis, unemployment, loss of social rights, etc.”

As for the ideologues of the new right who guide the new government and consider that culture and the academic world are dominated by “cultural Marxism” and leftism, Ferreira is even more forceful: “Sometimes I wonder what horror film these characters. Paranoid and bellicose, they do not adapt to the democratic environment”.

Read the full interview given by the former minister to ARTE!Brasileiros:

ARTE!Brasileiros – At the same time, in recent days, we have witnessed the reformulation of the Rouanet law, the TCU's request to suspend Ancine's new contracts and paralyze the agency's transfers and the withdrawal of sponsorship from public companies for the cultural sector. How do you see these facts? Do you see them separately or together, as part of the same guideline?

Juca Ferreira – Without understanding the importance of culture and art for the development of the country, without cultural policies that contribute to the cultural development of the country and guide the government and society, without sponsorship, without funding, promotion and incentive, via direct support by the national fund of culture or in the form of tax incentives, we can say, without drama, that we are heading towards the end of the state's contribution to the cultural development of Brazil.

More specifically regarding the decision of the TCU, you stated in an article in FSP that the risk is that, with the legitimate concern of preventing misuse of public resources, a public policy for the audiovisual sector that has given excellent results during the last governments will be paralyzed. I would like you to talk a little about that, about the risk that national cinema runs.

Those who work with art and culture in Brazil today live scared and insecure. We are heading towards a situation that points to censorship, persecution of those who think differently and are critical, and that the entire cultural and artistic area will be treated as an enemy. In order not to stop, [artists and producers] seek to balance themselves in the midst of this chaos, forced to take milk from bricks to keep activities and artistic activities running.

The entire system of sponsorship and public support is threatened. Without the support of public policies and with the end of the Ministry of Culture, the entire cultural and artistic process becomes slower, more precarious, more full of setbacks and upheavals, based solely on the will of artists, producers and makers of culture and the enormous creative impulse of the Brazilian people. Since the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, we are experiencing a setback and it seems that the worst is yet to come.

About Rouanet, more specifically, how do you see the changes?

Innocuous, demagogic measures that reflect a total lack of knowledge of the law and its mechanisms. It will only make the situation worse and make it more difficult for art and culture in general. The measures of this IN are innocuous and demagogic. They pretend to democratize and curb abuses. This IN is a rough set of those who heard the rooster crow and don't know where. It will only complicate matters further and make sponsorship and promotion unfeasible.

Another criticism is the fact that the artistic class was not consulted. Congressman Alexandre Frota himself, from the president's party, said this. I mean, is there no attempt at dialogue on the part of the government?

As if the problems that the country is facing and the crises of the government were not enough – a deep economic crisis, unemployment, loss of social rights, etc. – President-elect Bolsonaro decided to declare war on art and culture and call artists into the fray. They are trying to destroy the advances of Brazilian cinema and audiovisual in recent years, curtail and perhaps extinguish Ancine, interrupting the lines of public funding for Brazilian cinema and now they have decided to make the Rouanet Law unfeasible. They are neither able nor willing to improve the Law. It is a scorched earth policy.

There is, behind these changes, a clear ideological bias, to undo policies of previous governments and to fight an art that would be of “left ideological bias”. Government ideologues and the new right speak, for example, of cultural Marxism, which would have dominated the cultural and academic field… 

Sometimes I wonder what horror movie these characters came from. Paranoid and bellicose, they do not adapt to the democratic environment.

And how do you think that there can be resistance at this moment to what is happening, to all these changes and to the policies for the culture of the new government?

We need to defend what we have achieved in the last 20 years. We need to recover the MinC. We need to defend public policies that materialize the responsibility of the democratic State towards the cultural development of the country. Instead of extinguishing, improve the mechanisms and the rights conquered. To begin with, it is necessary to regain a climate of respect for those who think differently and invest in intelligence and dialogue as a basic condition for life in society. We need to look to the future and understand that there is no way out outside of democracy.

2 comments

  1. TAKE THE CULTURE OUT OF THE WORLD, TO SEE WHAT'S LEFT!
    Leo Muniz

    I have as a traveler
    I have seen and I have been amazed
    an abandoned value
    seen as irrelevant
    but he is very important
    we must preserve
    him very well take care
    all the time and second
    TAKE CULTURE OUT OF THE WORLD
    TO SEE WHAT WILL BE LEFT

    Who says it's unimportant
    superfluous and worthless
    although he is a doctor
    remain ignorant
    uninformed and pedantic
    don't notice what is to notice
    don't step where to step
    it's like barren soil
    TAKE CULTURE OUT OF THE WORLD
    TO SEE WHAT WILL BE LEFT

    Say it's in the background
    that is not a priority
    but see that actually
    almost every human being
    whether sicran or beltrano
    feel like reporting
    the things of your place
    where did it come from
    TAKE CULTURE OUT OF THE WORLD
    TO SEE WHAT WILL BE LEFT

    That guy who says
    that culture is dispensable
    I believe it is very likely
    that he is not happy
    how to saddle without canvas
    no music to cheer
    no string to declaim
    with deep suffering
    TAKE CULTURE OUT OF THE WORLD
    TO SEE WHAT WILL BE LEFT

    never watched television
    never been to a theater
    never watched Renato
    from the family of Aragon
    doesn't even know who Faustão is
    you can even think
    that he never saw speak
    in a round Tim Maia
    TAKE CULTURE OUT OF THE WORLD
    TO SEE WHAT WILL BE LEFT

    Circus has no idea
    don't appreciate the clown
    is like a john without an arm
    when you talk about Samson
    never seen a good Saint John
    and carnival don't even think about it
    don't even know what it's like to parade
    live like a dying man
    TAKE CULTURE OUT OF THE WORLD
    TO SEE WHAT WILL BE LEFT

    Never went to a movie
    never watched a movie
    never had fun
    nor recited a poem
    know nothing about iracema
    nor who was Zé de alencar
    it will get stuck soon
    dance for a second
    TAKE CULTURE OUT OF THE WORLD
    TO SEE WHAT WILL BE LEFT

    Never heard a good singer
    nor was it ever in a forró
    never loosened the gogó
    to sing for your love
    male goat yes sir
    of those that when walking
    never change your look
    trapped in the hollow of the world
    TAKE CULTURE OUT OF THE WORLD
    TO SEE WHAT WILL BE LEFT

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