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Dying Chavez appoints a crony as director of El Sistema

El Sistema Nacional de Orquestas y Coros Juveniles e Infantiles in Venezuela has a new executive director. He is Jesse Chacón, a former member of the Chavez Cabinet who resigned three years ago when his brother was arrested on banking corruption charges.

A colourful ex-army man, Chacón has been close to Chavez since 1990 and served jail time in 1992 for attempting a military coup. His appointment raises serious questions about the political independence of a music organisation that has become a world leader in cultural education.

jesse chacon

Here’s the official pronouncement:

La Gaceta Oficial N° 40.110, con fecha 14 de febrero que circula este viernes, establece que los ciudadanos Jesse Chacón Escamillo, Eduardo José Méndez Lozada, Temir Porras Ponceleón, Gregory Mauricio Carreño y Alberto Dolcet Grau presidirán la referida institución.

Lea el decreto presidencial N° 9.385, donde fue nombrada la nueva directiva de la Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar.

Con el supremo compromiso y voluntad de lograr la mayor eficacia política y calidad revolucionaria en la construcción del Socialismo y el engrandecimiento del País, basado en los principios humanistas y en las condiciones morales y éticas Bolivarianas, por mandato del pueblo y en ejercicio de la atribución que le confiere el numeral 16 del artículo 236 de la Constitución de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, en concordancia con lo establecido en el artículo 6 del Decreto de creación de la Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar, N°. 3.093, de fecha 20 de febrero de 1979, publicado en Gaceta Oficial de la República de Venezuela N° 31.681, de fecha 21 de febrero de 1979.

NICOLÁS MADURO MOROS, Vicepresidente Ejecutivo de la República

Por delegación del Presidente de la República Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, según Decreto N° 9.315 de fecha 09 de diciembre de 2012, publicado en la Gaceta Oficial de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela N° 40.077 de fecha 22 de diciembre de 2012, reimpreso en la Gaceta Oficial N° 40.078, de fecha 26 de diciembre de 2012.


Artículo 1°. Nombro para integrar la Junta Directiva de Ia Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar, en los cargos que más abajo se indican, a los siguientes ciudadanos: Eduardo José Méndez Lozada, titular de la cédula de identidad N° V-13.966.558, Director Ejecutivo; Jesse Chacón Escamillo, titular de la cédula de identidad N° V-6.886.845; Temir Porras Ponceleón, titular de Ia cédula de identidad N° V-11.518.670; Gregory Mauricio Carreño, titular de la cédula de ldentidad N° V-4.399.133 y Alberto Dolcet Grau titular de la cédula de identidad N° V-2.089.990, como Directores.

Artículo 2°. Delego en la Ministra del Poder Popular del Despacho de la Presidencia y Seguimiento de la Gestión de Gobierno, la juramentación de los referidos ciudadanos.

Artículo 3°. El presente Decreto entrará en vigencia a partir de su publicación en la Gaceta Oficial de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela.

Dado en Caracas a los catorce días del mes de febrero de dos mil trece. Años 202• de la Independencia, 153° de la Federación y 14° de la Revolución Bolivariana.


Nicolás Maduro Moros

Presidente Ejecutivo de la República



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  1. An alternative interpretation might be that the Venezuelan government has, at the highest levels recognized the importance of this cultural institution and thrown its support behind it. One may disagree about political systems, and the level of control governments exercise, but this one at least has been a populist one committed to providing education, health care and economic support for the poor, and I am familiar with one program in NYC in which Venezuela has been providing free and low cost heating oil for poor communities here. While it has a political purpose, it’s doing more good than any alternative assistance by the Federal government, and given the inflated prices of heating oil, it has provided a real benefit.

  2. And presumably he makes the trains run on time too?

  3. Daniel Farber says:

    His appointment “raises serious questions about the political independence of [El Sistema]“. Like there weren’t “serious questions” about that until now? Please.

  4. El Sistema has jealously guarded its independence from the Venezuelan government and the Chavez regime. It was founded way back in the early 1970′s, long before Chavez came along. He desperately wants El Sistema to fall in line under his administration, because most of his promises to the nation have not materialized, and this could be interpreted as something positive for him. If in fact, the government intends to force El Sistema under its adminstration, the news would be ber disturbing.

  5. El Sistema has been wildly successful precisely because it was private and independent. No bureaucrat or arts administrator would have ever created it.

    • You are correct, but the Government has recognized the huge social and cultural value of the program which is not inconsistent with its own agenda.

  6. The text is Spanish announces Eduardo Mendez as the Executive Director, not Chacon. The latter is listed as a director, although it is not entirely clear what duties or portfolio that entails. Eduardo Mendez has long played a substantial role in the administrative leadership of the Fundamusical Bolivar and was widely viewed as Maestro Abreu’s right hand, so this announcement comes as no surprise.

  7. Greg Hlatky says:

    How like an artist to kiss the hand of any tyrant that throws a few coins his way.

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