For Mexicans, France has always been an idol. From the Pastry War to being a cemetery for distinguished men, the French Republic was a determining factor for the world, because of its great wars and because it had invested so much in its dignity, that it became a great example.
Recently in Paris, speaking with an old Secretary of Culture from François Holland’s government, I noticed something very important. Mexico and France are countries destined for boldness and bravery and have a strong human and economic investment in developing a cultural action model.
The French Culture Department has been the place where not just the language is promoted, but their economic, technological and military influences are also defined in interested countries.
Since the end of World War II, since the times of Charles de Gaulle, France’s identity has been build around culture. And we, without realizing it, have done the same, especially since José López Portillo’s era.
With the creation of the National Council for Culture and the Arts (Conaculta) Carlos Salinas de Gortari built what in France was the first Culture Department, which was led by André Malraux.
Now with the transformation of the Culture Secretariat Council, a clear message is being emphasized ― in this era of reinforcing our Mexican identity ― about what we believe and what we decide to invest in.
Our country has finally appeared in the hands, minds, mouths and eyes of artists. And the transformation that is to come will be a product of the integration of cultures that gave us origins and that we have been incorporating, with the goal of accomplishing a project for the future.
We should stop considering it normal to be robbed and killed. We have to have the valor to recognize when something in our environment works.
We don’t have to consider culture as a luxury, but rather as a pillar that sustains our values, identities and the society.
In this sense, in these complicated years we have to make an effort so that this chapter about cultural investment doesn’t diminish, being conscience that we can overcome many challenge thanks to the cultural identity that we possess.
The day that José Vasconcelos put Diego Rivera in charge of a few murals, they were doing something more than a work of art, because they directly captured the heart of Mexico’s origins and its legitimacy, exercising the command of the present and the design of the future.