A letter from Gustavo Dudamel, published in the Los Angeles Times, gives his reasons for his lack of a public stand on Venezuelan politics, see: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-dudamel-why-i-take-no-public-stand-on-politics-20150929-story.html
The essence of his argument is dead wrong. Gustavo Dudamel has a very strong public posture in Venezuelan politics. He has kept silent about the criminal performance of the Venezuelan regime during the last 16 years. He has kept silent about the imprisonment of the innocent, the sacking of the Venezuelan public resources, the alignment of the Venezuelan regime with the rogue governments of the planet, the expropriation of private property, the collapse of our oil industry, the participation of high-ranking military with drug trafficking, the use of Venezuelan public resources to help international terrorism and the tragic misuse of $2 trillion during those years, money that could have converted Venezuela into a modern and shining country. Today, Venezuela is a declining petro state, a flourishing narco state and her government is allied to the most despicable regimes on earth.
The silence of Mr. Dudamel is one of the strongest political statements that a public figure can make. What he calls “political theatre” I call the civic arena, where all things pertinent to the country should be freely discussed by responsible citizens. Mr. Dudamel is a citizen and an influential one but he has kept mute about the physical and moral disintegration of the country and, in my book, this is equivalent to siding with the creators of this tragedy.
But Mr. Dudamel not only has kept silent, he has publicly sided with the regime, by appearing in public events designed to maintain an odious cult to the personality of former strongman and corrupt president Hugo Chavez. He is regularly seen in photographs with the two presidents Venezuela has had in the XXI century, both representatives of the dictatorial and inept regime: Chavez and Maduro. In his private life he is a personal friend of some of the most corrupt members of the regime, such as Mr. Elias Jaua.
Mr. Dudamel claims not to be a politician or an activist and refuses to “align myself with one party or one point of view”. This could be true for the U.S., where both political parties are dedicated, in their own way, to promote democracy and well-being for all citizens. But this is not the case in Venezuela. The Venezuelan government is in the hands of gangsters and Mr. Dudamel is friendly to the gang. He has to know the horrors of Venezuelan life and chooses to keep silent. In the words of Edmund Burke: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”. Or in the words of Martin Luther King: “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
Or the terrible words of Yeats: “The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity”.
He says in his letter: “I have respect for Venezuela's leaders and the offices they hold, although, again, I do not agree with every decision they make”. And, in my view, this says it all. A man of conscience, an honorable man, can have no respect for the members of the Venezuelan regime. This is not a matter of dissent on policy issues or political style. It is a matter of confronting ideological horror and not consorting with it.
He offers some perspective for his posture. He says he is the product of El Sistema and makes claims for the benefits of this important initiative that could be the object of an open, dispassionate debate. But Mr. Dudamel cannot hide behind this program to justify his silence. As he says, every government has supported this program since 1975 and a democratic government replacing this regime would certainly do so. This regime is not the only one that would support the program. The program certainly is not a child of the regime. Organizations such as the Inter American Development Bank and the Andean Corporation have provided millions of dollars to this program. Mr. Dudamel should suspect that the support of the regime has a strong propaganda component and that the regime utilizes the program to burnish its international image. And Mr. Abreu and Mr. Dudamel have gone along with this.
Mr. Dudamel believes that by speaking out he could “politicize the program”. But the program is deeply politicized! This program is already hostage to the regime and is being openly utilized for political purposes. Even assuming that the program benefits 700,000 Venezuelan children (numbers appear grossly overstated), don’t we have a bigger responsibility to the 10 million children who are now suffering the abuses and corruption of this regime and to the Nation at large?
Today the battle is for the soul of Venezuela. But Mr. Dudamel is not aware of the critical importance of this battle. He defines himself as an idealist. On the contrary, I believe he is eminently pragmatic and has managed to develop a dual personality that allows him to live in a musical world of luxury and sophistication while peacefully coexisting with a regime characterized by a primitive and obsolete ideology.
I hear his music but I also hear, and with greater intensity, the cries of our people.
Will the real Mr. Dudamel please stand up? Time is running short.