September 9, 2014. (venezuelanalysis.com)- Last month, the Venezuelan parliament ratified a law that enables national artists to access social security benefits.
The Social Protection for Artists and National Cultural Workers Law has yet to be widely publicized, after passing quietly through parliament in the midst of a series of cabinet upheavals and economic reforms spearheaded by president Nicolas Maduro last month.
Early this morning, the director of the Venezuelan Artists’ Movement and commissioner for the government initiative for Peace and Life, actor Roberto Messuti, called the nation’s attention to the new law on VTV public television, calling it “more than an accomplishment- a reason for constant celebration, because for the first time in Venezuelan history, justice will be offered to national artists.”
Late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez prioritized art and culture throughout his presidency, funneling public funds into creative institutions such as the National University of Fine Arts (UNEFA), the state editorial El Perro y la Rana, as well as numerous cultural centers, film societies, community television networks, and musical production facilities.
While critics often pointed out how some artists appeared more “plugged in” to the government’s cultural network than others, Messuti insists that the protective law has no “political tint,” and will provide freelance and government funded artists with equal treatment. He also indicated the legislation will provide added security for entertainers, who are often pressured into signing disadvantageous contracts in order to work in the industry.
However, the law recognizes cultural activity as a distinct social labor, and certain clauses indicate that artists must organize themselves and actively enrich their communities in order to qualify for state benefits.
The actor urged all artists to familiarize themselves with the opportunities and requirements that make up the legislation, and requested that president Maduro do his part in promulgating the same.