Mexico's diverse culture includes the Schola Cantorum choir. Mexico's diverse culture includes the Schola Cantorum choir.

Culture gets a new level of recognition

New Secretariat of Culture moves closer to reality

It is expected that culture in Mexico will get greater attention through the creation of a new Secretariat of Culture, whose establishment moved a step closer this week.

The Chamber of Deputies approved the necessary legislation, after months of discussion, after it was proposed three months ago by President Enrique Peña Nieto.

The Culture Secretariat will replace the National Council for Culture and Arts, also known as Conaculta, created in 1988 as a decentralized arm of the Education Secretariat. It has been responsible for the nation’s museums and monuments, promoting and protecting the arts, and managing the national archives.

The president of the Culture Commission of the Chamber of Deputies remarked that “culture will no longer depend on the good will of the Education Secretary; their budget will no longer be an annual concern for the institutions that transform the country through culture.”

Santiago Taboada explained that the change will strengthen the work done by the National Institute of Anthropology and History, the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature, along with other organizations.

The creation of the Culture Secretariat was also described as a means of “paying off, at last, a 20-year-old debt with the cultural sector,” and that putting cultural activities under a government secretariat means granting them “the juridical, legal and budgetary instruments they deserve.”

Legislators agreed that the bill could be improved, and that it hasn’t contemplated the importance of popular and indigenous cultures. Those concerns, among others, will be part of the discussions on the General Law on Culture, which will begin once the Culture Secretariat is in place.

The bill has now been sent to the Senate for its consideration.

Source: La Jornada (sp), El Universal (sp), Excélsior (sp), Milenio (sp)

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