The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, this Thursday vetoed a law approved by Congress that allocated 600 million dollars per year to the cultural sector, the second project of this type that the far-right leader blocks in a month. In both cases, the government alleges that the initiatives break budget laws and other regulations.
The law, approved at the end of March by the Senate, created the Aldir Blanc National Policy for the Promotion of Culture and provided for the annual transfer of 3,000 million reais (USD 600 million) of federal funds to Brazilian states and municipalities from 2023, for five years.
With these resources, the project would prolong an aid that was granted by Parliament to the artistic community during the pandemic.
The Presidency justified the veto stating that the law is “against the public interest” because it removes autonomy from the Executive Power to apply resources and violates budget laws, according to the Official Gazette.
Bolsonaro vetoed “the largest permanent policy to promote culture in the country. The president despises the sector and all Brazilians who work in it,” opposition senator Jandira Feghali, one of the authors of the project, named in honor of Bolsonaro, criticized on Twitter. a Brazilian composer who died of covid a year ago.
“The arguments for the veto are not sustained,” this government is “the enemy of culture,” added Feghali, who promised to work to override the veto, which requires an absolute majority in both houses of Congress.
In April, Bolsonaro had vetoed a similar projectthe Paulo Gustavo Law (in tribute to a popular comedian who also died of covid) that earmarked financial aid for artists and cultural programs affected by the pandemic.
Bolsonaro, who will seek his re-election in the presidential elections in October, has been on a war footing against the cultural sector since before assuming the presidency in 2019.
In his first year in office, lowered the Ministry of Culture to the rank of secretariat and his administration has faced repeated accusations of using its control over federal funding for the arts to try to censor projects that it considers ideologically threatening.