Dudamel is under dual attack for Venezuela statement

Dudamel is under dual attack for Venezuela statement


norman lebrecht

April 26, 2017

His first intervention in the worsening Venezuela situation has earned Gustavo Dudamel nothing but hostility.

Opponents of the Maduro regime, which is trying to starve the country into submission, have accused Dudamel of targeting the opposition by failing to name the government as the cause of present miseries.

Supporters of the Government are calling him a turncoat.

Debate is raging across social media.

You can watch his important statement here. It calls on ‘political leaders to find the necessary ways to solve the crisis in Venezuela.’

That means both sides.

By any reasonable measure, it is a brave statement. Dudamel, who lives in the US and works worldwide, had no reason to stick his head above the parapet. He has never spoken before about Venezuelan politics. Had he kept quiet no-one would have been able to fault him for that – at least no more than they have done already. he must have been aware that making the statement was a no-win action.

I know from personal encounters that Gustavo Dudamel loves his country and maintains a naive admiration for its former leader, Hugo Chavez. Dudamel is not a politician, but he has an acute sense of responsibility for musicians in the Simon Bolivar Orchestra, which he directs. To have issued an overt attack on the Maduro government would have exposed his musicians to existential risk. That he could not do.

In present circumstances, this statement is as brave as it gets. I applaud his courage.

Dudamel (centre) with President Chavez and mentor Abreu


  • Sandra de la Fuente says:

    The “president” you see in the picture is not Maduro, but Chávez. It seems to me that Gustavo shoud have spoken out before, and it is not excuse the idea of preserving his orchestra while killing all the people around.

    • El Cid says:

      The only ones doing the murdering are the US/Colombian thugs doing the murdering in Venezuela. The Colombian backed opposition can even mount a campaign to win a presidential election or even governorships. Very sad.

  • enemigopublico says:

    Debate is hardly raging. Venezuelans have come down on Dudamel like a ton of bricks, and hardly anyone is supporting him.

    Dudamel ‘had no reason to stick his head above the parapet’ – other than manoeuvring to keep his position in a post-Maduro Venezuela.

    ‘He must have been aware that making the statement was a no-win action’ – someone at this level doesn’t just suddenly decide to make a little video. It was clearly carefully planned and scripted, no doubt with much advice from others. They must have been well aware that he had to say something.

    It’s aimed at the rest of the world, not Venezuela, where people have long made up their minds about Dudamel. It’s a global PR exercise, and on the basis of this post, it’s working.

  • William Osborne says:

    Remember US involvement in “regime change” (often on multiple occasions) in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Chile, Grenada, Argentina, and Brazil. Not to mention Syria, Iran, Libya, Egypt, and all those other evil Arab countries. Nor Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, and even China. We can, however, rest assured that the problems in Venezuela are purely internal and that the USA has nothing to do with the economic destabilization of the country – the 2002 US coup attempt aside…..

    • William Osborne says:

      Oh, and how dare Venezuela nationalize its natural resources, especially oil……..

    • Peter says:

      Oh of course not. The CIA doesn’t even know where South America is, they never heard of it.

    • J. says:

      Caracas is waiting for you, Osborne. Please, send us your impressions. Thank you and goodbye.

      • William Osborne says:

        Oh, Caracas is terrible, rife with evil Marxists and uppity Latins creating shortages and chaos, just like the American media stresses, but of course nothing like Santiago in 1973. The Chileans didn’t have good orchestras……………

  • enemigopublico says:

    Oh, and he doesn’t give a toss about the musicians in the Simón Bolívar orchestra. He told them he’s leaving. All that stuff about how they’re all a “big family” is just marketing.

  • Peter says:

    All these self righteous arm chair freedom fighters, who never had to live or relate to authoritarian regimes and know nothing about it, but spout big opinions and supremacist nonsense. Disgusting creatures.

  • alvaro says:

    Meanwhile, Gergiev – A.K.A Putin’s Haydn- is building a multi million concert hall….




    But yeah, cant wait to hear how it is evil for Dudamel to avoid one of the most succesful music programs in the history of music to be dismantled.

    • John Borstlap says:

      I object to the comparison of Prince Esterhazy with Putin. Esterhazy was, in his own time and place, a perfectly decent gentleman.

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      Yes, Gergiev is building a concert hall in his house – don’t you think it’s good? Really, it’s wonderful and I’d do the same if I had the means.

  • El Cid says:

    ” naive admiration” for deceased President Hugo Chavez. Are you kidding me? President Chavez was the most loved leader in Latin America who stood for Venezuelan independence and sovereignty. Over 1,000,000 attended his funeral along with leaders from all around the world. Do you believe 1,000,000 who mourned and cried at the funeral of Hugo Chavez are, “naive”. This just proves your bias. It was only the Venezuelan oligarchy and the elites who shed no tears. Dudamel was absolutely right to participate in the funeral of his great leader. Lets just hope that Dudamel does not become a complete traitor and a Judas.

    • Yomismo says:

      Mr “Cid”. One thing that an be very safely said about the people like you who post online backing up murderous and opprobrious regimes like this one you so much rant about, is that you guys never live under one of those regimes, you live comfortably and peacefully in a democracy, but that somehow does not stop you from strongly advocating these evil regimes as the ideal system to live under for everybody else except you, of course. I wonder why that is so?
      For your information, Chavez is a strongly despised figure in Venezuela now that everybody finally realized where he was trying to take the country. A lot more people will have to die before this dictatorship falls. You should move to Venezuela right now to enjoy the last days of such a great regime.

      As to Mr Dudamel, all I can say is that being a great musician does not necessarily mean that you are a good person as history has shown us repeatedly. I don’t need to listen to him to know he must be a very good conductor based on what I read, and that is good, because I have no plans of ever listening to any of his performances. It’s not that I demand from musicians or artists in general that they be saints, but I do hope that they are decent human beings at least, just like anybody else. Venezuelans know very well who Dudamel is.

      • El Cid says:

        “Murderous and opprobrius regime” really? This may be true in the minds of the thieving Venezuelan elites who lost power after the Revolution. The Venezuelan people don’t want you anymore. The Venezuelan leader, the Honorable Nicolas Maduro Moro, has just built the 1,600,000th home to be given to a homeless poor family. Maduro continues to provide free education and university scholarships to ALL Venezuelans to further their studies. Maduro pays highly qualified Cuban medical staff to provide free high quality medical attention to all Venezuelan including the rich.
        You the ELITE continue to engage in economic warfare receiving assistance from the narco elites of Colombia and Mexico, stealing subsidized food intended for the Venezuelans in need, and sell it illegally in Colombia. Maduro is too lenient with criminals whom you support. You elites only care about your privileges and nothing more. Shame on you for being a traitor.

  • El Cid says:

    I would never say that Maestro Dudamel is an imbecile, but maybe those who give him advise are. He must fire them immediately. These riot in Venezuela are foreign backed, mainly Colombia and the United States and the oligarchies of Latin America and Spain.

  • herrera says:

    “as brave as it gets”

    If that be bravery, then there is no such thing as cowardice or enabler or collaborator.

    Sure I enrolled in the Nazi Party, but that was to ensure that my orchestra would continue to get a paycheck, I’m “as brave as it gets.”

    Sure I denounced by Jewish neighbor, but that was to ensure that my building would not be condemned, I’m “as brave as it gets.”

    Sure I ran a concentration camp, but that was just following orders, I’m “as brave as it gets.”

    Bravo Dudamel, sorry, I meant Brave Dudamel.

    • bye bye says:

      If we can’t even come to a moral consensus in today’s events, how can we ever come to terms with what happened 75 years ago?

      Dudamel and Gergiev will be as celebrated and debated 75 years from now as Furtwangler and Bohm are today.

      History repeats itself, and even in witnessing it, we have no clearer moral vision than our grandparents.

      How Sad.

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      Dear Herrera, don’t draw the Nazi card, it goes always wrong and creates doubts about your honesty.

      Bye-Bye, I’m sure Dudamel & Gergiev will not be as celebrated as Furtwaengler & Böhm 75 years from now.

  • bye bye says:

    Now I understand why Deborah Borda is flying out of LA on the next available flight to NY: to get as far away from Dudamel as possible as quickly as possible.

    Eventually, even the latino population in LA is going to abandon him.

    • El Cid says:

      I don’t think that Maestro Dudamel has been properly informed. There is a coup d’etat in process in Venezuela. The elites and their US sponsors hate paying taxes to support social benefits for oil rich Venezuela yet historically poor Venezuelans. Chavez made the economic elites pay taxes for the firsts time. Dudamel benefitted from a government scholarship. He would not be here if it were not for the generosity of Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution. If Dudamel bites the hand that fed him. He will be alone, and unwelcomed in Venezuela where “El Sistema” is almost 100% supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution.

  • Leandro Oliveira says:

    Mr. Lebrecht, you are incredible. So, telling both parts to calm down “By any reasonable measure, it is a brave statement.” Hmm. Not at all. It’s as coward as always was. As if a dictatorship as Chaves/Maduro was a matter of politeness…

    • V.Lind says:

      Oh, and why don’t we bring back Batista and Somoza while we are at it…

      I wish the US would stay the F&*^ out of other nations’ business. The British get slated for colonialism and its consequences but given the civilisations (literacy, etc.), court systems and other legacies of British rule throughout the empire, it was not ALL bad.But I am hard pressed to see a good consequence of the US sticking its ugly oar in anywhere in the world.

  • El Cid says:

    For Maestro Gustavo Dudamel, there is only one burning question that he must answer. Is he on the side of the Venezuelan people or is he on the side of the Venezuelan elite and oligarchs with their US/Colombian backers. Will Gustavo Dudamel condemn the violence of the elite/foreign backers including the murder of security personnel?

  • e says:

    Dear Mr. Dudamel,

    Lets put current events into perspective. Almelina Carrillo was just a passerby when she was assaulted by foreign backed thugs. A bottle was thrown from an apartment building and cracked her skull. A day earlier, a prominent “opposition leader”, Tulio Hernandez was promoting these tactics. He was the vice president of a private bank, Banco Central. He tweeted “even dropping flower pots can neutralize the Chavistas.
    Mr. Dudamel. Are these the ones whom you support? Why have you not condemned these acts of terrorism by mostly foreign backed Venezuelan traitor. Do you want to be part of this crowd?

  • Dave says:

    Actually Gustavo Dudamel has been living off state-owned PDVSA’s dollars for almost two decades. His all career in L.A. was paid off by president Chavez and several were the times that a concert bu Fudamel amd his orchestra was done to president Chavez’s closest while the police officers attacked the protesters some blocjs away. Dudamel was the face of many chavista programs and has done many enterviews declaring the joys of socialism while living in luxury in L.A. or in international tours. This is why the opposition os mad at Dudamel. Because people are dying of hunger, leaving the country without money or being killed on the streets by the paramilitary or the police and he does this speech clearly diminiahing the socio-economic crisis as a clash of egos. You

    • El Cid says:

      Dave- In Venezuela, the so-called “opposition” is nothing but a collection of mercenaries paid for by oligarchs from Colombia and Venezuela and the United States banking and oil monopolies. That is it, and nothing else.

  • Michael says:

    Dudamel is a tool. He’s a coward who built his career on the backs of those the despotic government in Caracas has oppressed. He only speaks out now because he fears being caught on the wrong side of history. But history has already passed by his sorry ass and he will never be able to break the bonds that link him to the butchers of Venezuela.

  • El Cid says:

    Dudamel is a revolutionary patriot. He is brave and honorable. The enemies, internal, are traitors and cowards taking money from Colombian drug cartels and Donald Trump. Thank you for sharing the opinion of a traitor.