The Minister of Culture, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, acknowledged yesterday in an interview with The Vanguard that he lacked empathy with the cultural sector when, in early April, in a public appearance, he stated that it was not the time to take any concrete measures for culture.
His words caused unrest among the sector, and now Rodríguez Uribes admits that the context in which he made these statements was not appropriate, and insists that it was first necessary to check whether the measures for all sectors reached the culture and, if this is not the case, approve concrete ones. Just last week, a decree was approved that plans to allocate 764 million to funding and aid for the cultural sector.
Rodríguez Uribes said that it has been verified that aid to stop the activity has only reached 40% of the cultural sectors, and that only some concerted measures have worked, such as ERTOs in the book sector. That is why, he added, the royal decree has been approved, which “must serve to alleviate part of the damage and so that the transition to normalcy can be resisted”.
According to Rodríguez Uribes, the aid from the decree “looks back to alleviate the pain of the hardest weeks, but also towards escalation”. In this sense, he said that the aid will compensate for part of the losses generated by the fact that theaters and cinemas will only be able to open to 30% of their capacity, initially, and 50%, later.
The minister said culture is an important sector for the economy as it contributes more than 3% of GDP and creates jobs. But he said he had proposed a “great state pact” for culture. In addition, he is in favor of elevating the category of culture within the Constitution.
No mass festivals
As for the future of the festivals, Uribes admitted that it will be “difficult” to hold a mass festival this summer. Still, he said concerts have been planned with 800 people in phase 3, seated and at the right distance. “Let’s not close that door,” he added. For those who can’t celebrate, he believes many people can have “supportive behavior and save the festival ticket for when it can be done”.