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Brazil's Roberto Alvim sparks outrage after appearing to mimic Goebbels

In a video, the new culture minister seemed to copy a speech by Hitler's propaganda chief as a Wagner opera played in background.
Roberto Alvim
Roberto AlvimEraldo Peres / AP file

BRASÍLIA — Brazil's Culture Secretary Roberto Alvim has sparked outrage by posting a video in which he appeared to copy a speech by Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.

The video, released on Thursday announcing national prizes to revitalize the arts in Brazil, quickly went viral, attracting outrage due to its at times word-for-word similarity to Goebbels.

Alvim, a theater director appointed last year by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, announced the prize as music played in the background from a Wagner opera, Hitler's favorite music.

"Brazilian art of the next decade will be heroic and it will be national... and imperative because it will be rooted in the urgent aspirations of our people, or it will be nothing," Alvim said in the video.

Goebbels, Hitler's notorious ideologue, told theater directors during the Nazi regime that: "German art of the next decade will be heroic, will be wildly romantic, will be objective and free of sentimentality, will be national with great pathos and equally imperative and binding, or else it will be nothing."

Alvim said on Facebook the use of the same phrase was a "rhetorical coincidence," adding he would never quote Goebbels.

"But the phrase itself is perfect: heroism and the aspiration of the people is what we want to see in national art," he said.