André Porciuncula, Brazil’s secretary for culture incentives, tweeted on Wednesday that his office is drafting an ordinance which would make all cultural projects and venues which impose vaccine mandates to the public ineligible for government funding. Culture Secretary Mario Frias retweeted the post, adding that “access to culture must be broad and unrestricted.”
President Jair Bolsonaro is a staunch opponent of vaccine mandates, claiming they restrict people’s fundamental rights. In his speech to the UN General Assembly last week, Mr. Bolsonaro promised to oppose them and pledged to veto any law to this end passed by Congress.
This will not be the first time the government has used culture funding policies to retaliate against those who disagree with its official stance on Covid-related policies. Back in March, a federal ordinance suspended funding requests for projects in cities which had imposed restrictions on non-essential businesses — saying it would only grant money to projects which promoted “in-person interaction between artists and spectators.”
A 2018 government-sponsored study showed that every BRL 1 spent on funding for projects by way of the Rouanet Act (Brazil’s main instrument for cultural incentives) injects BRL 1.56 into the Brazilian economy.