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Brazil's culture minister fired after appearing to quote Nazi rhetoric

Brazil's culture minister fired after appearing to quote Nazi rhetoric
Brazilian culture minister Roberto Alvim was fired Friday after comments he made about the future of Brazilian arts and culture were noted to be similar to those made by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels in 1933. Photo by Clara Angeleas/Flickr

Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Brazil's culture minister Roberto Alvim was fired Friday after comments he made were found to be similar to those once made by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

Alvim, in a Twitter posting since removed, explained upcoming Brazilian arts awards and what was to be expected of the entries. The $4.8 million prize fund for theater, art and music will prioritize conservative and Christian themes, he said.

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"Brazilian art in the next decade will be heroic and national," he said. "It will be endowed with a great capacity for emotional involvement and will be equally imperative, since it is deeply linked to the urgent aspirations of our people, or else it will be nothing."

The words are similar to those of Goebbels, a prominent member of Hitler's government, in 1933.

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"German art in the next decade will be heroic, steely but romantic, factual without sentimentality; it will be nationalistic with a great depth of feeling; it will be binding and it will unite, or it will cease to exist," Goebbels is reported to have told a group of theater managers and directors.

Alvim's remarks came as operatic music by Richard Wagner, Hitler's favorite composer, was played in the background. A framed photograph of Brazil's current president, Jair Bolsonaro, was prominent in the video. The right-wing Bolsonaro has been criticized for cutting funding to the arts and insisting on a conservative agenda for the country's direction.

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Although Alvim, a born-again Christian who in the past suggested that Satanism and abortion are encouraged by rock music, called his comments a "rhetorical coincidence" in comparison to that of Goebbels. Bolsonaro referred to it as an "unfortunate statement" in repudiating Alvim's comments and dismissing him.

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