Irritation, indignation, disappointment, frustration and enormous discomfort in the cultural world in the absence of concrete measures to help the punished sector in the first public appearance of Minister José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes since the declaration of the state of alarm. A cascade of criticism followed this Wednesday due to its lukewarmness and the absence of aid, after its previous consultations via telematics to listen to the needs of the sector. Uribes praised the good attitude of everyone, but did not announce direct aid, administrative facilities or promotion plans.
The Catalan Music Academy is already demanding the resignation of the minister because he understands that his statements “belittle the cultural sector”, demonstrate his “absolute ignorance of the reality, which is mostly precarious and unstructured” and denote “an intolerable lack of respect for his professionals”. The institution recalls that some 30,000 live performances have already been suspended and more than 130 million euros have been lost in this area alone.
“I would have liked to hear him say that he is fighting for the survival of the culture system in Spain,” said the president of the Academy of Performing Arts and the Federation of Theater and Dance Companies, Jesús Cimarro, an entrepreneur who points out that There are € 100 billion that Europe has set aside to rescue culture, and that France, Germany and Italy have had funds like this since March.
Uribes said that this game will come but did not specify when or its amount. “If we don’t start already, in June we will be at the UVI”, Cimarro answers. He calls on the minister to defend the need to set aside a fund for the culture of those 100,000 million Europeans. “We do not want patches, we simply ask for the proportional part of what the sector contributes to the national GDP,” he argues.
The same frustration has been expressed from the Union of Actors and Actresses, whose secretary general, Iñaki Guevara, regrets that the minister “does not know the situation” of these professionals. “After explaining to him that the actors cannot access any of the types of subsidy or benefits that have been launched because our work is intermittent, nor to the special ERTEs of the state of alarm, because the theaters had to close before it was decreed, it is clear that he does not know the sector, “Guevara reiterated.
Rodríguez Uribes stated in his speech on Tuesday that this is not the time to activate resources for the sector because there are other priorities. «We have not mobilized specific funds because we have mobilized transversal funds. The time will come to promote and re-impel for culture and sport. Today we have to think about the sick, about saving their lives and stopping the virus. And when we succeed, we will do everything to reactivate the culture, “he assured. “Life comes first and then cinema, although life without cinema and culture makes little sense,” added the minister, citing Orson Welles.
The Union of Lyrical Artists of Spain expressed its “sadness and disappointment” at the minister’s words. “We do not need to remind us that the country’s resources should be prioritized in healthcare at this time. This is something we understand and defend, because we are also getting sick and losing family and friends (…) But this does not mean that the fourth industry in the country is abandoned to its fate; 720,000 cultural workers ”, reads a note written in the form of a letter and sent to Rodríguez Uribes, whom they accuse of“ giving up ”on their obligations.
“There is no worse leadership than its absence, esteemed minister. At ALE, we have been understanding, close, condescending and patient with their management; We have believed that your request for proposals to the country’s cultural sector was aimed at proposing urgent measures to mitigate the devastating effects that the Covid-19 crisis is having on our community. But today we ask ourselves, why? added this professional organization.
Nor did concrete proposals emerge after the informal meeting of culture ministers of the European Union on Wednesday, in which Rodríguez Uribes proposed “reinforcing the Structural Funds and providing more funding for Creative Europe”. “Culture must be supported, now and after the crisis, so that it is a source of economic wealth and as a sure value that guides us and shelters us against future crises in defense of public ethics, democracy and human rights,” he said. the minister to his European colleagues. He stressed to them that “culture is a fundamental economic engine for Europe, that it contributes more than 3% to the EU’s GDP and that it is called to play a key role in reviving our economy.”