The Ministry of Culture has its work strategy for the new year very well focused. As part of the amalgam of projects, actions, and endeavors in which the country is engaged through its exercise of government, cultural efforts have as their top priority the improvement of Cultural Development Programs at all levels.
A special place among priorities is afforded permanent dialogue with creators about their relationship to the Revolution’s Cultural Policy, in defense of identity and sovereignty in the face of imperialism’s colonizing model, as well as strengthening the composition and functioning of Technical-Artistic Councils at different levels, with avant-garde creators and prestigious specialists.
Another goal is improving implementation of policy guiding the financing of artists for the realization of socio-cultural projects and actions that contribute to developing cultural criticism that allows audiences to become better oriented; provides feedback to creation processes; and contributes to the improvement of institutional work.
With respect to cultural programming, work is being done to raise quality, taking into account artistic hierarchies and ensuring the participation of creators in its design and execution. Among urgent tasks is the approval and application of legal norms to update the methodology of cultural programming. Also much-needed are initiatives offering spaces for local artists, and adequate regulation of the management of funds for artistic contracts in state and non-state institutions and the settling of outstanding debts owed artists, while avoiding the accumulation of new debts.
This year, the Ministry’s leadership will follow-up on agreements reached at the First Conference of the National Cultural Workers Union and the Hermanos Saíz Association’s Third Congress, while support will be offered to the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists’ Ninth Congress.
Another priority is implementation of the Protection of Culture in Public Spaces Decree and a careful review of professional music and performing arts catalogues throughout the country.
Aware that the cultural work of communities needs differentiated attention, the Ministry projects promoting the revitalization of the amateur artists movement and its festivals, in conjunction with the Cuban Workers Federation, the Federation of University Students, the Federation of Secondary Students, and the José Martí Pioneers children’s group.
Work will also be directed toward developing and articulating a comprehensive strategy for the international projection of Cuban culture, as well as a platform for international cooperation and foreign investment. It is necessary, Ministry leaders state, to develop a specific program to increase exports of cultural goods and services and substitute imports.
The Ministry has included among its priorities in 2019 accompanying international events such as the Fourth International Conference for Equilibrium in the World, the 28th International Book Fair, the Cubadisco Fair, the May Romerías, the Caribbean Festival, the Fiesta de la Cubanía, the International Festival of New Latin American Cinema, the International Ballet Festival of Havana, and the XIII Biennial of Havana, just to mention a few, as well as strengthening the Network of Intellectuals, Artists, and Social Movements in Defense of Humanity .
The updating of study plans and programs in artistic education at all three levels, and the presence of the artistic vanguard on faculties across country, as well as permanent efforts to raise quality in the selection of students and improvement of study materials at these schools are included on the Ministry’s agenda, as well.
The Historical Memory Program and the management of tangible and intangible heritage are other issues requiring attention, as well as the conservation of cultural assets, national monuments, and protected areas, for which the legal framework is being updated.
The proposal of an efficient system for book distribution in Cuba and intensification of actions in support of the National Reading Program are also included on the list of priorities.
Of great importance is consensus between the Ministry of Tourism and that of Culture to ensure that the former is present in tourist facilities, to generate productive links, in accordance with cultural policy. The revitalization of the Culture-Tourism Commission, and development of the Paradiso agency as the main organizer of international cultural events, are also strongly projected within the Ministry’s plans for the year.
Another point on the agenda is computerization of cultural processes, with emphasis on services to the population, the development of applications, and interaction with different audiences, which should progressively increase, as well as the presence of the cultural system on the Internet, with institutional websites, digital publications, and a much more active presence in social media.
The Ministry intends to evaluate 2020-2030 investment and maintenance programs in all provinces, and establish joint schedules for their execution and supervision, and guide implementation of the 2019 Investment Plan, ensuring that the repair and reopening of community centers, cinemas, theaters, libraries, bookstores, and other public service institutions are afforded special attention.
Also in need of support from the Ministry is the celebration of Havana’s 500th anniversary, for which the Ministry has prepared a specific plan, including the completion of a Cuban Cultural Assets Fund store at Linea and 18th; the Casa de la Música on Galiano Street; the Abdala studios; the Cerro Cultural Center; the first stage of the Linea Cultural Corridor; and work at the Fine Arts and Hemingway museums, the Arts Institute and the National Art Schools.
Cultural facilities(2017) Total In operation Closed
35 mm Movie Theaters 365 240 125
Video Centers 439 340 99
Libraries 397 388 9
Book Stores 327 322 5
Theaters 37 30 7
Museums 274 229 45
Community Centers 352 337 15
Art Galleries 137 131 6
Trova Centers 10 10 0
Art Schools 38 38 0
Source: Information shared by Minister of Culture Alpidio Alonso at the National Assembly.