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News > Latin America

Academics Say New Mexican Culture Ministry Brings Privatization

  • A state-run Cultural Ministry will lead to the privatization and commercialization of culture, say academics.

    A state-run Cultural Ministry will lead to the privatization and commercialization of culture, say academics. | Photo: AFP

Published 17 December 2015

Mexican academics say the state does not work in the country’s best interest, and a Cultural Ministry will undermine academia's role in the field.

Local and international scholars have spoken out against the creation of a new Cultural Ministry in Mexico announced earlier this week, saying the move will lead to the mass privatization of cultural industries.

Some 300 academics signed and submitted a petition Thursday denouncing the move.

“The analysis of the initiative that led to this ministry makes evident the purpose of transferring cultural heritage into private hands, from a limited perspective of what is 'culture.' This also undermines the role and scope of the National Institute of Anthropology and History,” reads the petition.

According to the academics, the ministry will break the strong links that have been created between cultural industries, social movements and academic institutions, “which have dedicated more than 75 years into the investigation, conservation and diffusion of cultural heritage.”

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However, government officials and supporters of the ministry say it is necessary to better organize and promote Mexican culture both nationally and internationally.

Academics from the National Institute of Anthropology and History, or INAH, and the National Institute of Fine Arts, or INBA, have long protested the proposal of creating a state body to oversee cultural industries.

“The state does not ensure the cultural rights of the population, instead it invades the responsibilities of the institutions that do have laws,” said INAH and INBA academics in a protest last month, before the creation of the ministry.

The ministry will “break the link between education and culture that is the foundation of identity and social union of Mexicans,” said flyers handed out by academics and supporters outside of the National Museum of Anthropology.

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