Festival report contains enough blame to go around

A report on the failed Festival International de las Artes described a confused bureaucracy, lapses in communication and lack of institutional oversight.

The 15-page report, prepared over the name of the minister of Cutura y Juventud, singles out Inti Picado Ovares and José Alfredo Chavarría who share the immediate responsibility for the collapsed festival.

Picado was director of a relatively new agency within the ministry called the Centro de Producción Artistica y Cultural.  Chavarría was a vice minister who was supposed to supervise Picado’s work in setting up the festival and contracting performers.

Both have been dismissed from the ministry, and the minister herself, Elizabeth Fonseca, has submitted her resignation to President Luis Guillermo Solís.

Solís announced Tuesday night that he has named Sylvie Durán Salvatierra a vice minister to take over the ministry and give a diagnosis and make recommendations related to the festival and other programs that still are to come.

The festival report suggests that Picado was overwhelmed with work. A final suggestion is to add five more employees to that entity.

The report also mentions the problems that the ministry had in getting approval for contracts. One problem was failing to contract a firm to provide sound and lights to outside events. But the report shows that this was not a surprise because the back and forth over budgets and proposed expenses went on for months.

The report also showed leadership weakness on the part of Minister Fonseca, who said that she has trouble communicating and getting Picado to come to meetings.

The problems with the festival were suspected well before the start in late April.

Some designers declined to work with the ministry because they assessed correctly that there was not enough time remaining to do the work required.

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