From Wed Sep 3 08:00:10 2003
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2003 15:50:30 -0500 (CDT)
From: Nicaragua Network <>
Subject: Nicaragua Network Hotline
Article: 164080
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Sergio Ramirez Declares Government Cultural Support ‘A Joke’

Nicaragua Network Hotline, 2 September 2003

The noted Nicaraguan writer, Sergio Ramirez, who still sees his years as vice-president within the revolutionary government as a very beautiful time of my life, roundly criticized the government for its miserly support for culture and the arts. It's just a joke, he expostulated. I'm not talking about the management of these affairs by Institute of Culture Director Dr. Chow; I'm talking about the pitiful resources accorded that institute. Imagine, it has to maintain the National Theater, the National Museum, the National Archives, the Newspaper Library, the Palace of Culture itself and all the art schools on just one million cordobas (approx. $65,500) per year.

Ramirez was speaking in the context of a seminar on creative writing, entitled, Secrets of the Kitchen, organized by the Nicaraguan Association of Writers. Author of Adios, Muchachos, a bitter-sweet reflection on the Sandinista revolution, Ramirez said he saw Nicaraguan culture falling into the hands of commerce. Painting, book production, cultural groups, all are being bought over by the banks. Within such a system, the market rules; this is the pass which cultural heritage has come to, he exclaimed.

Speaking of his personal convictions, the former vice-president, who broke with the Sandinista front in 1995 to form the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS), affirmed, I developed my ethical convictions more than fifty years ago; they haven't changed. What has changed is my attitude to politics. I no longer take part in politics. I don't mean by this that I want to bury my past. I lived a very beautiful part of my life during the Revolution. For me, it was something that transcended the merely political. But nowadays I get up each morning to write. What's going on here in my country saddens and worries me, but I no longer see myself as part of the solution.