Evaluation of Consuelo Sáizar’s administration

03 April 2009, Mexico

Analysis of the challenges faced by Conaculta’s new President, after one month of activities.

To speed up the delivery of resources to regions, municipalities and organizations, “because the current economic situation deserves it”; to overcome the “lack of movement” which has been characterizing Conaculta; to build institutionalised spaces of participation, and to set up the agenda to achieve the long awaited “structural change” of this federal institution.

These are, according to cultural administrators Eduardo Nivón and Eduardo Cruz Vásquez and the deputy Alfonso Suárez del Real, the matters still to be resolved by the editor Consuelo Sáizar who has been in the presidency for a month already.

In relation to a first rendering of accounts that Consuelo Sáizar had announced after four weeks of her administration, which will be presented after Holy Week, the interviewees agree on its positive outcome, “given that communication has been re-established with promoters and creators as well as with the Council’s staff” and that her new appointments are “pertinent” and “unquestionable”.

However, they admit that it is still unknown which will be the scope of the institution’s restructuring, since it is “difficult to do it in the middle part of an administration: she must evaluate what should continue from what her predecessor established and which will be her own proposals”, states Cruz Vázquez. 

Another important subject, according to Nivón, is to “establish clearly” a policy for heritage protection that allows innovation and conservation in dialogue and equilibrium with all the actors involved, so that what happened in Teotihuacán is not repeated.

“It is also vital to have permanent communication with the National Congress, which is more and more prominent in setting up a cultural policy and in defining budget allocation. The constitutional reform related to Cultural Rights is near and it is necessary to establish the steps and roads to take”, adds the cultural anthropologist Nivón.

For Suárez del Real, now President of the Culture Commission of the Lower House, the top priority is to deliver resources to public bodies between April and May, “because prices are raising dramatically”; this will also “strengthen the federal spirit, which is also an urgent matter”.

Sáizar, who has been praised for her “moderate and discrete” ways, should also face delicate matters like the audit report 2007 of the Auditoría Superior de la Federación, which concludes that Conaculta did not invest during that year 9,504,000 pesos.

In addition, reasons why Mexico cancelled the presentations of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème, that Chilean artists were meant to perform in April are necessary; it has been said that the cause was the global financial crisis, but the GFC had already been forecast by the end of 2008, when the contract was signed.