Javier Milei against Argentine Culture

The rise of Javier Milei to power put Argentine culture on the ropes. The thing is that the libertarian ideals of the new president directly attack the intellectual interests of society. Objective one, balance the fiscal deficit; objective two, favor the free expression of the market.

For this reason, the first project of Omnibus Law that the Executive Branch sent to Congress was global, covering all areas of the State. The deregulation that targeted Culture included the closure of key institutions such as the National Endowment for the Arts (FNA) and the National Theater Institute (INT), and the repeal of several laws.

However, after the presentations of several of the most important references of Argentine culture in the plenary session of the Deputies’ committees, the reformulated text was presented, which goes from a project of 664 articles to one of 523, in which it nullifies the closure of the aforementioned institutions, nor the removal of the current percentage allocated to INCAAalthough it proposes restructuring its guidelines so that there is greater and exhaustive control of funds, so “that the administrative expenses of the sector are not an excessive burden.”

An area that has not yet been heard is that of the book. The price regulation established by the Law for the Defense of Books Activity (25,542) intends to be repealed by the Government and its insistence complicates the protagonists of the sector. Consulted by NOTICIAS, the writer and university professor Alejandro Katz states: “It is an unnecessary regulation that favors corporate interests. Although they claim to take care of the consumer, what there is is a conspiracy to get more money from them. They believe that all regulation harms economic dynamics and is one more lie of capitalism.”

What is objectionable to this new law is the freedom of price and that there is no intervention by the State, a device that Milei wants to remove from circulation. About this Katz explains: “This Government has an ideological preference for the big players to whom it wrongly attributes virtues of efficiency. Milei is convinced that the biggest is the best. It must be clarified that the current law does not say that we must subsidize the bookseller who is an idiot, old, from the 19th century, who does not add anything to the market out of melancholy and romanticism.. But the sales price must be the same wherever it is sold, so that the market rules are the same for a small bookstore as for a multinational like Yenny or large stores like Carrefour or Mercado Libre.”

Another retreat by the Government was with respect to the National Institute of Music (INAMU) and the National Commission of Popular Libraries (CONABIP), which at the beginning were going to suffer a lack of financing that left them in complete agony. Now “in pursuit of more efficient management” (as the project says), it is established to limit expenditures to 20 percent of income, thus prioritizing direct support for music and popular libraries.

The words of the director of “Argentina, 1985”, Santiago Miter, when a week ago he declared: “The virtues of our film industry generate foreign exchange and quality work. I could see the admiration that our country generates in the world. Argentina is the country with the most Oscar nominations in the region because there is a Film Law that encourages the activity. Why do we want to destroy that? Cinema does not ask for money: it asks that the law that allows it to continue self-financing be maintained.” And such a statement was replicated by prominent personalities such as Ricardo Darín, Luis Brandoni, Pablo Echarri and Mercedes Morán, among others; which made the intentions of Freedom Advances of defunding INCCA are reduced to greater control. This ensures the continuity of the National School of Film Experimentation and Production (ENERC) and all its subsidiaries in the various Argentine provinces.

An important voice that was raised in response to this project to remove subsidies and artistic deregulations is that of Jorge Marralepresident of the Argentine Society for the Management of Performing Actors (SAGAI), who in dialogue with NOTICIAS insisted: “SAGAI is an entity that manages the collection of image rights and distributes the payment of the proceeds among its partners, which is a right and not a privilege. What they intend is for this management to be done by each actor on their behalf. Someone explain to me how each person collects what they are entitled to when a film or series is distributed worldwide, such as “The Secret in Their Eyes.” Impossible. That is why SAGAI, in agreement with other similar institutions abroad, exchanges services, so that it is global. Here there is no regulation that harms anyone, on the contrary.”

The original Omnibus Law sought to free the state from its cultural “expenses,” repealing all laws that made national art a distinctive feature. With an important recapitulation but still placing restrictions that weaken the sector, both in its conception and in its distribution, the debate continues as it enters the decisive stage.

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