Chile’s culture minister resigns amid controversy

Museum of History and Human Rights, Santiago de Chile. Photo: Jorge Barrios / Wikimedia Commons

Mauricio Rojas, Chile’s recently appointed culture minister, has resigned after criticism over some comments he made in 2015 about the Museum of History and Human Rights in Santiago, BBC News reports. Rojas came under fire after the Chilean press picked up on an excerpt from a book he coauthored, in which he questioned the legitimacy of the museum, which documents the abuses and violations during Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship (1973–90). In the book Rojas was quoted saying that the museum was a montage whose objective ‘is to shock the spectator, leaving them astonished and preventing them from reasoning’. He accused the museum of manipulating history to that end, calling it a ‘shameless and inaccurate use of a national tragedy that touched so many of us directly’.

Rojas defended himself by saying this excerpt did not reflect his current views, but pressure from human rights organisations and politicians across the government have led him to step down. Chile’s president Sebasitian Pinera accepted his resignation, only four days after his appointment. Archaeologist Consuelo Valdes was named as his replacement.

15 August 2018