Chilean culture sector demands help for ‘critical’ situation amid pandemic
Santiago, Sep 29 (efe-epa).- After more than six months of artistic and cultural shows suspended by the COVID-19 pandemic in Chile, the culture sector denounced on Tuesday that their situation is “critical” and asked the government for help and concrete plans for the reactivation of the industry.
“Our field of work is invisible, we do not receive any aid from the government and there are many people who are not able to make ends meet,” Anthony Guterac, vice president of the Association of Arts and Entertainment Workers, told EFE.
Dozens of producers, sound engineers and other artists gathered on Tuesday in downtown Santiago and marched to La Moneda, the seat of the president of Chile, to deliver a letter of demands to the government.
Arts and entertainment are two of the industries hardest hit by the economic crisis and, although the epidemic is starting to subside in Chile and most cities are resuming gradual reopening of businesses, theaters, concert halls and exhibitions have been closed since mid-March.
“We demand that the government allocate one percent of the budget to culture and give us a concrete answer about what is going to happen to us – when we can return to work,” Maria Jose Alarcon, a 27-year-old event organizer, told EFE. She has been out of work for six months.
According to the National Institute of Statistics, 50.9 percent of workers in the arts industry suffered a loss of income during the second quarter of the year, compared to the 33.8 percent on average in other sectors.
With 461,300 cases and 12,725 deaths since the start of the pandemic in March, Chile is the 12th most affected nation in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University.
“I lost fifty percent of my income and did not have access to government aid because I am an independent worker,” Jesus Llanten, a sound engineer with 13 years of experience, told EFE.
In the afternoon, the association organized light projections in different cities across the country, including in the capital, where the show was held outside the National Stadium.
The pandemic caused a drop in Chilean GDP by 14.1 percent in the second quarter, the biggest since 1986, and the Central Bank estimates a recession of up to 7.5 percent this year. EFE-EPA