To lose the current rank would be detrimental to the Culture Secretariat’s plans,
19 August 2009, Paraguay

Paraguay’s Culture Secretariat is running the risk of losing its rank if the Senate’s Chamber passes, on its ordinary session, the bill presented by Patria Querida’s Deputy, Sebastián Acha, by which its current rank would be lowered to Vice ministry.

During its public hearing, that took place yesterday at the Bicameral Room of the National Congress, the Minister of Culture, Ticio Escobar, defended the current rank of the organization at his command.

He made clear that passing this bill would knock down what has been achieved by the organization he runs, that was created a year and a half ago.

Escobar declared that during his administration many international agreements were achieved that could get truncated, because they were signed on equal terms, that is to say with international organizations that have the rank of Secretary of Ministry of Culture.

“The word rank implies, more than anything else, a symbolic value or an instrument that allows a dialogue in equal terms at the international level, in ministers meetings, when signing agreements; the rank is for us an additional working tool”, explained culture’s highest authority before the plenary of the public hearing.  

Escobar added that lowering the rank would mean that secretariats could not continue formulating state policies.

The Head of Culture indicated that most of Paraguay’s cultural policies were made up with the State’s intervention and civil participation and that they served as foundations for the plans that the Government is developing within and outside the country, through the embassies and the cultural attaché’s offices.

OBSTACLES. Lowering the Secretariat rank would also bring to a halt the work being developed to celebrate the Bicentennial –Culture has the third Vice-presidency- and within Mercosur Cultural.

“Mercosur Cultural is deep-rooted in the region and has strong implications in the international treaties that are being developed”, explained Escobar.

The Language Law, promoted by the Secretariat, would also be knocked down. Escobar considers this Law fundamental for Paraguay to maintain its position with regard to other ministries of culture of the regional bloc.

The public hearing took place yesterday so that senators could get to know civil society’s position, as well as that of most of the Heads of the Secretariats against the bill, which will be studied tomorrow by the plenary of the Senators’ Chamber.

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