The Minister of Culture declares that the Government is reactivating the cultural sector of the Dominican Republic
The cultural policy of the government led by President Danilo Medina Sánchez aims at strengthening the artistic and cultural institutions of the Dominican Republic and supporting private sector initiatives by promoting entrepreneurship, said the Minister of Culture, singer and songwriter José Antonio Rodríguez, on Monday.
These statements were made at a press conference organized in the Orlando Martínez Hall of the National Palace by Roberto Rodríguez Marchena, Director of Communications of the Presidency. Rodríguez spoke of the plans that have been put in place by the Government through the Ministry of Culture.
The official said that the government is planning to support cultural institutions so that they can be effective in the dissemination of the Dominican identity, which, he said, is of paramount importance in the globalized world that we live in.
Another objective of this official policy, he explained, is to decentralize the resources invested by the State through the Ministry of Culture, so that they can reach all provinces and municipalities.
In that regard, he stated that an action of great importance is the National Call for Cultural Projects, which allows representatives of the State and civil society to discuss the initiatives to be undertaken in the municipalities and provinces.
He explained that this call for projects was issued per instructions of President Medina Sánchez, and that the cultural projects to be selected in the provincial meetings will be funded up to 80 percent by the State, for which there is an initial contribution of RD$100,000,000.
Rodríguez said that the National Call for Projects mobilizes dozens of cultural managers across the country, a move that will revolutionize Dominican culture and the Ministry that he leads.
The first two meetings were held in Barahona and Nagua, where 25 projects were selected covering the provinces of Barahona, Bahoruco, Independencia, Elías Piña, María Trinidad Sánchez, Hermanas Mirabal, Samaná, and Duarte, among others.
The call is governed by a program to be completed by December of this year. For the selection and financing of the cultural initiatives that are submitted, cultural managers must demonstrate that they can be sustained over time. The meetings are chaired by Rodríguez, along with the ministerial cabinet headed by Dr. Carlos Salcedo.
The Minister explained that the purpose of this call is part of the President’s view that there is a cultural diversity disseminated throughout the country, such as folklore, music, crafts and gastronomy that the State must reach through the Ministry.
He argued that the cultural sector is an important factor of the Dominican economy, generating employment and foreign exchange, and that because he understands it to be like this, the President is fostering cultural industries across the country.
He reported that during the first year of the current administration, the Ministry of Culture, through the National Crafts Center, has formally submitted more than 450 loan applications to the Solidarity Bank to finance projects of the crafts sector, of which 100 have been recently approved.
The Ministry of Culture continues to support the editions of books by Dominican writers and intellectuals. As an example, he said that 35 books have been edited in different literary genres.
He also highlighted the support to the Fine Arts, giving each discipline the attention they deserve.
The XVI International Santo Domingo Book Fair 2013 was held for two weeks with a reported attendance of 1,300,000 visitors and approximately RD$28,000,000 in revenue from the sale of books and crafts, among other items.
He said that the Government is developing a major program of rehabilitation of the colonial area which hosts the most important historical monuments. Similar plans have been developed for other heritage centers, such as La Isabela in Puerto Plata.
He explained that there are several activities being carried out in this important cultural and tourist area, such as the construction of roads, the installation of underground cables, the construction of parking lots, the reconstruction of sidewalks and curbs, the remodeling of facades, malls and the relocation of vendors and tourist service providers at a cost of RD$145,000,000.
The Minister of Culture said that in order to better develop the Dominican cultural sector, legal adjustments are required. To this end, the Ministry has been supporting initiatives such as the Patronage Bill, reviewing the Film Law and the passage of legislation such as the Book and Reading, Cultural Heritage and Museums, Music, Public Art, and Crafts.