Having broadened its ties with its neighbors, Brazil has now taken on the presidency of Mercosur Cultural with the commitment of fostering diversity and unity among the nations. Such was the outcome of the 54th Meeting of Mercosur Ministers of Culture, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The meeting brought together the ministers of culture of Chile, Colombia, and Peru, which are not full members of Mercosur.
Mercosur Cultural is the bloc's highest entity for the deliberation of cultural policies.
Last Friday (Jun. 2), a ceremony marked the transfer of the pro tempore presidency of Mercosur Cultural to Brazil. With a six-month duration, the Brazilian administration will officially start in July, but the ministers took the opportunity to sign the symbolic handover of the position.
After signing her term of office, Brazilian Culture Minister Margareth Menezes outlined the guidelines for Mercosur Cultural in the second half of the year. Efforts, she stated, will be aimed at bringing the countries closer together by pushing the frontiers for the promotion of books and reading, audiovisual production, and technological collaboration. She also advocated more solid ties in the cultural economy.
Also on Friday, Mercosur's culture ministers recognized the Buenos Aires's ESMA (Escuela de Mecanica de la Armada) Museum and Site of Memory as part of the bloc's cultural heritage. The institution seeks to preserve the memory of the victims and raise awareness about the human rights violations that occurred during the military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983).
ESMA was a military institution until 1983, when democracy was restored in the country. It was recognized as one of the main clandestine centers for the detention, torture, disappearance, and extermination of those persecuted by the Argentine military regime. In 2004, the government of then-President Cristina Kirchner turned the building into a memorial and a museum, and named it Spaces for the Memory, Promotion, and Defense of Human Rights, or ESMA Museum and Site of Memory.
Source: Agencia Brasil