Brazil minister says Bolsonaro destroyed country's cultural policies
BRASILIA, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Brazil's former far-right president dismantled all government cultural programs and blocked funding for institutions and artists, the country's new Culture Minister Margareth Menezes said on Wednesday.
Menezes, a popular singer from Bahia, was picked by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to head the newly restored ministry that had been shut down by his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, who reduced it to an office of the tourism ministry.
"He doesn't like culture," Menezes said of Bolsonaro at a news conference. "My mission is to rebuild the ministry and cultural policies that were destroyed," she said.
Artists were considered "outlaws" by Bolsonaro, she said, and his government defunded not just cultural programs but institutions that look after Brazil's historic buildings and cultural heritage.
Menezes, who toured with musician David Byrne in 1990, said Lula has assigned "generous" resources to get cultural programs up and running again.
Her ministry will also see to the repair and restoration of art work and furniture vandalized by Bolsonaro supporters who stormed government buildings on Jan. 8 calling for a military coup to oust Lula and restore Bolsonaro.
A Swiss clock company has offered to restore the 18th-century French clock that was destroyed that day by a Bolsonaro supporter, Menezes said.
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