The pianist Gabriela Montero goes public today on the disconnect between art in Venezuela and oppression. Raised in Venezuela before she moved as a child to the US, here is Gabriela’s powerful appeal.
UPDATE: When you have finished reading, here is Gustavo’s reply.
I think the time has come for me as an ARTIST, VENEZUELAN, WOMAN AND MOTHER to write a letter to Jose Antonio Abreu and Gustavo Dudamel. I had not done it before out of affection and respect for Gustavo.
But I cannot remain silent any longer. Yesterday, while tens of thousands of peaceful protesters marched all over Venezuela to express their frustration, pain and desperation at the total civic,moral, physical, economic and human break down of Venezuela, and while the government armed militias, National Guard AND police attacked, killed, injured, imprisoned and disappeared many innocent victims, Gustavo and Christian Vazquez led the orchestra in a concert celebrating Youth Day and the 39 years of the birth of EL Sistema. They played a CONCERT while their people were being massacred.
I often use the analogy of the Titanic. The performing quartet sank with it while they continued to play their music. The music didn’t help. The music didn’t save them. Venezuela is sinking and El Sistema will sink with it. We have moved past the point of no return. Music, ambition and fame are worthless next to human suffering. They mean nothing when you are abused, injured and killed..
No more excuses. No more “Artists are above and beyond everything”.
No more ” We do it for the kids”. The 200.000 people who have been murdered in the last 15 years due to rampant violence and the opprobrious actions and language of the government, matter more than any instrument, any ideology, any profession, any amount of money, and any personal satisfaction or gain. Those same children are growing up in a country that is no longer a safe haven for them, and it is the responsibility of the leaders to shine light on the truth of the REAL situation in my country.
I love the musicians in El Sistema. Many of them are my friends and this has nothing to do with taking anything away from THEM, but the LEADERS have a moral duty to SPEAK UP and risk whatever is necessary in order to stand up against this dictatorship that we are now suppressed by.
Venezuela is on fire and it will continue to burn until the Cubans, the government and its beneficiaries give up power. I would ask you to read the news, but there is nothing in the news. The grip of the government is such that the world remains silent, blind and deaf to us..