Eleven institutions dedicated to culture, memory and human rights announce the consequences that would bring the decrease of 15% and 7.8% in their financing, a measure included in the 2021 Budget Law draft, that will also affect other cultural institutions generating a negative impact on the sector.
October 16, 2020. In a joint statement, eleven institutions dedicated to culture, memory and human rights expressed in a public letter their rejection of the decrease in financing of 15% and 7.8%, included in the draft of the 2021 Budget Law, in the section of the Servicio Nacional del Patrimonio Cultural del Ministerio de las Culturas, las Artes y el Patrimonio.
This statement is signed by Casa Museo Eduardo Frei Montalva, Centro Cultural Museo y Memoria de Neltume, Corporacióòn Memorial Paine, Fundación 1367, Casa Memoria José Domingo Cañas, Fundación Documentación y Archivo Vicaría de la Solidaridad, Fundación Patricio Aylwin Azócar, Londres 38 espacio de memorias, Museo de Arte Colonial de San Francisco, Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos, Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende and Parque por La Paz Villa Grimaldi, institutions affected by the budget cut, included in the project that is currently being discussed in the National Congress.
According to the statement, if the proposal submitted by the government to the Mixed Commission of the Congress is approved, it would cause «structural and irreversible damage to the country and an obvious setback in terms of cultural policies». Specifically, it would translate into a significant decrease in cultural, historical, memorial and artistic activities, and a significant damage to our country’s intangible heritage, a situation that would also affect all citizens who visit and frequent these places, as well as all those who work in the cultural sector.
Among the extreme measures that would have to be taken with this reduction, some spaces would have to be closed to the public (such as Casa de Memoria José Domingo Cañas) and others would have to significantly reduce their opening hours; activities and exhibitions would cease; specialists would have to be made redundant; there would be an increased risk in the security and conservation of important collections of public heritage (Casa Museo Eduardo Frei Montalva, Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos, Museo de Arte Colonial de San Francisco); and research and dissemination programs would have to be cancelled.
This statement was made today, as the allocation for 2021 budget, corresponding to the Ministerio de las Culturas, las Artes y el Patrimonio, became the first item to be rejected in the National Congress.
A few days ago, 14 institutions dedicated to culture, memory and human rights were deeply concerned about the decrease in financing of 15% and 7.8%, included in the draft Budget Law for the year 2021, in the section of the Servicio Nacional del Patrimonio Cultural, del Ministerio de las Culturas, las Artes y el Patrimonio.
The approval of this proposal will be a structural and irreversible damage for the country and an obvious setback in terms of cultural policies. Specifically, it will translate into a significant decrease in cultural, historical, memorial and artistic activities in our country, which will affect not only our memory spaces, museums and archives, but also the entire community that visits and frequents these venues. The situation is serious because our institutions are also relevant spaces for people who work in the cultural sector: some institutions would cease their activities for a while, others will have to lay off workers and reduce fundamental actions such as care for art collections and archives; and what is more serious still, some could disappear.
Despite the precarious conditions in which most of us have carried out our work, we have fulfilled the objectives and goals set in each budget year, thus responding to the demands of society in terms of culture, heritage, memory and defense of human rights.
In a country that has achieved democracy after many strong efforts, we see with great concern that the decrease in our budgets will seriously affect activities related to memory and human rights, as well as the safeguarding of the historical, cultural and artistic heritage that our cultural spaces protect. The gravity of the situation further increases when we take into consideration that this decision was made in a context of growing negationism and attacks on some of our sites, through offensive graffiti, infrastructure destruction and even arson attempts.
Altogether we receive thousands of visitors each year, the vast majority of which correspond to educational establishments. Even during quarantine we continued carrying out visits, workshops and discussions through digital media, advancing, at the same time, in a great diversity of activities that are part of our work, such as historical research, publications, conservation of collections, properties and spaces under our care, judicial litigations to bring truth and justice in cases of human rights violations, the development of public access archives, exhibitions, work with local communities, as well as cultural extension and dissemination.
Years of sustained and solitary efforts by the organizations and groups of memory and defense of human rights supporting these spaces, have made possible for the State to start financing some of them; it is not acceptable to turn back now and start reducing this limited support, greatly affecting the right to memory and the right to reparation that the State is obliged to guarantee by virtue of the commitments signed in the framework of the universal and inter-American human rights system.
«We feel responsible for the development of the country’s symbolic and cultural capital, which cannot be set aside, even in a situation of a pandemic and high global economic complexity. Therefore, we make a broad call to take into account the serious situation that underlies the 2021 budget proposal».
Signed by directors and representatives of:
Casa Museo Eduardo Frei Montalva
Centro Cultural Museo y Memoria de Neltume
Corporación Memorial Paine
Fundación 1367, Casa Memoria José Domingo Cañas
Fundación Documentación y Archivo Vicaria de la Solidaridad
Fundación Patricio Aylwin Azócar
Londres 38 espacio de memorias
Museo de Arte Colonial de San Francisco
Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos
Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende
Parque por La Paz Villa Grimaldi