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Citing value of art, Culture Ministry criticizes budget cuts

October 21, 2020

The Culture Ministry (MCJ) on Tuesday criticized a budget cut that it says will have “significant impacts” on Costa Rica’s National Theater, museums, libraries and educational programs.

A commission (Comisión de Asuntos Hacendarios) approved a motion which eliminates $7 million from MCJ’s 2021 budget, which corresponds to an 8.6% drop in its expected finances.

In a statement, MCJ said Costa Rica’s “boys and girls, our youth will be affected” by the motion.

“Their access to knowledge, capacity building and innovation are hit,” said Sylvie Durán Salvatierra, Culture Minister.

“Not betting on culture is unfair for many people, it is not very strategic for the entire country and it is critical in the pandemic given the vulnerability of our artists and cultural workers.”

The Culture Ministry manages or contributes to the National Theater, the Melico Salazar Theater, the National Library System and La Libertad Park, among other attractions and programs.

MCJ said it will soon offer more specifics “to the implications and actions that as an institution we will have to face” resulting from the reduced budget.

The 2021 budget cuts come in context of a growing economic crisis resulting, in part, from the coronavirus pandemic. Costa Rica’s fiscal deficit will reach 9.7% of GDP in 2020, according to the Finance Ministry, while unemployment has soared to nearly 25%.

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