SANTIAGO – The presidential runoff election will be held Dec. 19, with an intense race to the finish by candidates Gabriel Boric and José Antonio Kast. How will each address the cultural sector in the country? Boric aims to promote cultural development while Kast proposes less reliance on government grants.
Chile’s two remaining presidential contenders, Gabrie Boric and José Antonio Kast, have not said much about their plans for Chile’s cultural sector aka the arts. They both agree that current programs are not working but they disagree on approaches to push the sector forward. Boric favors a more publicly-funded system, while Kast looks to encourage private funding of artistic projects.
The left wing candidate has three main proposals for the cultural sector. They focus on development, national monuments, and freedom of expression.
Development, in turn, is guided by three points. The first focuses on developing a program to grant funding and support to different artistic collectives throughout the country. This program would aid sports clubs, artistic festivals, and any other gatherings that promote and articulate a community identity.
His second proposal focuses on the budget and reforming the current culture fund contest that is used right now. By increasing the Ministry of Culture’s funds to pme percemt of the total government’s budget, the ministry will have more money to develop several cultural projects as well as help artists find other means of financing. This proposal also seeks to better the labor conditions in the artistic sector by directly working with unions.
The last development point focuses on strengthening the artistic educational process in schools. This will be accomplished by creating one artistic focused school in each region, while pushing for an artistic focused mental health program, which will use art and creative development to help kids with developmental issues.
In terms of national monuments, Boric wants to replace the current National Monument law with an updated version that would allow for a new definition of National Monuments created with the help of a public forum that would include indigenous consultations.
His proposal also includes giving recognition to sites where human rights violations took place and creating a new File Law that would encourage the preservation of files and archives. This last proposal goes hand in hand with his goal of digitizing the current archives in a way that they can be preserved for future generations. Lastly, he wishes to aid non-profit organizations that seek to raise awareness of Chile’s cultural and ecological diversity.
Borici also highlights the right to information, freedom of expression, and the importance of both to the democratic process. The part of his program has two goals: to develop a new public media system that includes radio, television, and internet platforms, with each medium working independently of the others and dedicated to different demographics – one for kids, one for teenagers, one for an indigenous public, etc.; and to decentralize the information platforms by supporting independent newspaper distribution, and by allowing and helping municipalities, universities, and communities create and distribute their own platforms.
On the other side of the political spectrum, Kast promises to protect and promote the culture that originates from Chile’s values. His program focuses on giving everyone the possibility of deciding which cultural services they want access to and proposing that the government should only help in co-financing these services as necessary to prevent the state from monopolizing the sector.
The main aspects of Kast’s cultural program is in depoliticizing the arts, creating an audience for national culture projects, and incentivizing private financing.
To carry out this first proposal, the candidate will establish anonymous contest funds to ensure that no one receives preferential treatment. As for depoliticizing the cultural sector, he will cut funding to any foundation that has a clear political stance.
He also proposes more cultural spaces in the regions that will help communities access different artistic disciplines. These spaces will be connected with fiber optic cables, so they are able to transmit their events throughout the country. Also in his program is the construction of more libraries with educational activities to help incentivize reading.
To help promote culture, Kast will encourage indigenous communities to participate in cultural programs. He will also promote an understanding of Chile’s colonial and Christian history. Lastly, he recommends a new law that would incentivize private financing of the cultural sector via tax deductions that could reach 100 percent, depending on the impact the financing has on a municipal or national level.
Diego Rivera is currently a senior in University, finishing up his audiovisual degree. You can find him on Twitter as @Piover45.