Far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has appointed conservative actress Regina Duarte as the country’s new secretary of culture. Best known for her telenovela roles in the 1970s and ’80s, Duarte is the fourth person to fill the position under Bolsonaro’s tenure. She replaces Roberto Alvim, who was fired from the cabinet position earlier this month.

According to the Art Newspaper, the new secretary supported Bolsonaro’s decision to dismantle the government’s ministry of culture and slash federal funding for arts institutions and projects that is available through the Rouanet Law, which Bolsonaro has also threatened. The funding mechanism was established in 1991 to promote culture in Brazil and currently has an annual budget of $2.3 billion. Bolsonaro has previously  claimed that previous administrations used the government monies as a means to bribe cultural organizations for political clout. Duarte, whose personal production company received a $330,000 Rouanet grant in 2018, also echoed Bolsonaro’s sentiments toward the law in an interview with Globo last year. 

Alvim was dismissed in mid-January after he paraphrased from a speech originally given by Nazi minister of propaganda Joseph Goebbels in a video he released on Twitter. Prior to Alvim, bank executive Ricardo Braga held the position for two months before being reassigned to the Ministry of Education. Bolsonaro’s first secretary of culture, Henrique Medeiros Pires, resigned in August 2019 in protest of the conservative government’s restrictions on artistic freedom and alleged censorship of LGBTQ television productions.

 

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