Mérida, May 30th 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) — Throughout the past week, the Venezuelan Ministry of Culture distributed free books, children's stories, magazines, movies, and documentaries, and hosted public theatrical and musical presentations in the central plazas in major cities across the country.
Such promotion of cultural activity is the task of the government's program called the Culture Mission, and a new National Reading Plan, which aspires to promote readership by publicly distributing 2.5 million books nation-wide.
The documentary titled ‘When the Compass Turned,' was produced by the government-funded Villa del Cine film foundation and was among those distributed. In the partially animated film, a diverse group of Venezuelans tell Venezuela's history, taking into account the struggle of groups such as indigenous peoples and poor farmers against imperial and elite domination. The narrative weaves a thread between these past social struggles and the current progressive political changes taking place in Venezuela.
When President Hugo Chávez launched the National Reading Plan last month, he said one of the plan's objectives was to "rescue our true history for our youth."
The Culture Mission is in the midst of an expansion from the Caracas area to more states, and includes thousands of cultural promoters who facilitate cultural classes and stage performances that reaffirm Venezuelan identity and history in historically marginalized communities.
From Wednesday through Friday this week, Venezuela hosted an international Conference of Intellectuals on the Crisis of Capitalism. The intellectuals from Venezuela, the United States, and across Latin America discussed themes such as consumerism, the media, and culture and revolution in the scope of the world economic crisis sparked by the collapse of U.S. financial markets last year.
Vice Minister of Culture Ivan Padilla said the event was significant because "citizens had direct contact with the intellectuals… Our intellectuals are not isolated in a dome, ours are part of the people."
On Friday, Foreign Relations Minister Nicolas Maduro hosted a conference of the ministers of culture from member countries of the ALBA trade bloc, a regional trade integration organization based on the principles of cooperation and solidarity.
"This era has found us in a revolution with the activation of transformative forces, and one of its most lively and sustaining elements is cultural activity," Maduro said to the culture ministers of Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, among other guests.
The ALBA countries have signed several agreements to cooperate in promoting cultural activity and Latin American identity in each other's nations.