30 | NOV | 2019
Photo: Archive/ EL UNIVERSAL

Mexico’s Minister of Culture passes away at 62

Mexico City
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Rafael Tovar y de Teresa, the first Minister of Culture in Mexico, died earlier today at age 62, after he had been admitted last Thursday in the Central Military Hospital for undisclosed reason

Rafael Tovar y de Teresa, the first Minister of Culture in Mexico, died earlier today at age 62.

The Minister’s last public appearance took place on October 19, while his last twitter post was made on December 8 this year. On December 18, 2015 he was named the first Minister of Culture of president Enrique Peña Nieto’s cabinet after the creation of the Mexican Ministry of Culture.

The Ministry of Culture informed of the late Minster’s death in the agency’s official twitter account: “We regret to inform that the Minister Rafael Tovar y de Teresa passed away during the first hours of this Saturday. Our sympathies for his bereaved and to all the cultural community in Mexico”.

His funeral service is taking place in the French cemetery, where distinguished members of the cultural, intellectual and political spheres in Mexico are paying his respects. It has been informed that the late Minister’s remains will be cremated tomorrow afternoon.

Tovar y de Teresa was a prominent historian, diplomat and cultural promoter. He was born in Mexico City, in 1954, and studied Law in the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM).

His cultural track record goes back to the early seventies were he wrote as a music critic for a national newspaper. He then became the Cultural Affairs Chief of the Mexican Tax Administration (SAT) and a consultant for the National Institute of Fine Arts (INBA) in the late seventies.

He entered the diplomatic service in 1979, when he was named General Director of Cultural Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), and later held office as the Minister of Culture of the Mexican embassy in France and in the late 2000s as the Mexican ambassador to Italy.

For twelve years, he was an active member of the National Council for the Culture and Arts (CONACULTA) where he founded the National Creators System, the National Fund of Culture and Arts ( FONCA), Cultural T.V. channel 22 and the National Center for the Arts.

Tovar y Teresa attended the opening of Nikola Tesla’s exhibition “The future belongs to me” on March 10 this year, where he was seen without hair and with a gaunt look. He then explained that his recent hair loss was the “natural” result of the health treatment he had undertaken for over a month, and refused to provide further details on the matter as it was regarded by himself as a “private affair”.

In a press conference given on August this year, Tovar y de Teresa noted that he was making a full recovery of his health and that no activity of his public agenda had been left unattended after the completion of his medical treatment.

President Peña Nieto expressed his condolences in his twitter account: “An exceptional public officer, (Tovar y Teresa) was a passionate, tireless promoter of Mexico and its culture worldwide. You will be missed, Rafa. May you rest in peace”.


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