Exclusive: England shuts down Venezuela’s tainted Sistema

Exclusive: England shuts down Venezuela’s tainted Sistema


norman lebrecht

January 23, 2022

Sistema England, set up in 2014, has abruptly shut down.

All of its functions have quietly been transferred to the The Nucleo Project, run by Sistema co-founder Lucy Maguire.

A brief statement says:

After more than a decade of service, Sistema England passed over its activities and national role to Nucleo, including the Young Leaders Programme and the Instrument Donation Bank.

Today we’re as dedicated as ever to achieving social change through music, championing the growth of young people and communities in North Kensington and throughout England.

No mention is made of Sistema’s origins in dictatorial Venezuela.

Julian Lloyd Webber, co-founder of Sistema England, becomes ‘honorary patron’ of Nucleo.

Sistema is over.


  • ChrisD says:

    More British propaganda from this site. Elections in Venezuela have been endorsed by outside monitors as free and fair. Maduro has been challenged by a US supported stooge called Guaido who hasn’t made much impact. Just as Britain has, in effect, stolen half a billion dollars from Iran, so it has sequestered the gold reserves of Venezuela. The empire lives on.

    • Stephen McElroy says:

      Maduro is still in power because his primary business is the global drug trade, and because it is the high ranking personnel within the military who benefit from that lucrative business. Chavez did not allow military power to be concentrated in the hands of a few generals, but appointed over 1000 of them, knowing that such a large cohort would be impossible to turn in the event that the opposition managed to put forward a Guaido. And whoever has the guns has the power, as protesters have found out to their detriment, ever since the infamous February protests of 2014 during which Gustavo Dudamel gave concerts while Venezuela’s youth were killed by his employer on nearby streets.

      The people have made it abundantly clear that they want Maduro out, and the ICC is now officially pursuing crimes against humanity charges against him and the regime in response to their suppression of that majority will. https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/11/03/venezuela-icc-investigation-opens Everyone except the most ignorant fool or totalitarian-loving die-hard knows this by now. I suppose there will always be those who believe the earth is flat.

      As for observed elections. Elections are not synonymous with democracy, they are – or ought to be – the administrative culmination of the entrenched democratic process. So, when Saddam Hussein “won” elections with a 99% majority, his “election” was not a reflection of democratic processes at work, but of the tyranny of fear. An analogy: you put 100 outside observers at the finish line of a 100m race. They all observe who crosses the line first, and all agree. But none of them is looking at the start line, from which the winner has flagrantly false-started 7 seconds ahead of his opponents. I don’t understand why this needs to be explained to anyone over the age of 6 with an IQ above the median.

      As for the gold? No, it has not been sequestered by the British. It is in safe-keeping at the Bank of England because the Venezuelans put it there to be kept safe! That now means protecting it FOR the Venezuelan people AGAINST the wishes of Maduro who does not serve their interests but only his own, and who will use it to perpetuate the disastrous policy of borrowing cash from the Chinese and Russians that he can not possibly pay back, except in exchange for Venezuelan mineral mining assets, gold bullion, oil (whatever the decrepit infrastructure can still produce) and strategic military installations.

      As for El Sistema. Yes, it was founded decades ago, pre-Chavez, but it was usurped, hijacked and propagandised by Chavez and Maduro during the internet and social media era to the extent that it became a toxic brand that cynically contradicted all of its stated principles. It claimed to save Venezuela’s youth with fanciful, unchallenged assumptions, while operating under the ministry of a regime that did everything to ensure Venezuela’s youth had no future beyond economic misery, deprivation, starvation and mass exile. It has taken a good fifteen years to get the message across, and it is gratifying to know that there are people out there smart enough to understand that nomenclature really does matter. Brand is everything. It is absolutely possible to do good works – YES!!! – without invoking the name of a program owned and operated by a tyrannical regime, even if the rebranded UK model retains elements of the original structures and mission statements. Yes, we can hold two ideas aloft at the same time! Imagine that!

      • Yes, there are problems in Venezuela, but given the massive problems throughout much of Latin America, one gets a bit suspicious when Venezuela is singled out in long-winded diatribes, a country that nationalized its oil resources and thus deeply angered American plutocracy. One gets a whiff of hidden agendas.

        • Sam (Stephen) McElroy says:

          Mr. Osbourne, respectfully, I’m really not sure why you need to chime in on this subject if you have nothing meaningful to say about it, aside from expressing your own, personal political biases and generic, anti-American sentiments (which may have their merits, just not in the context of modern Venezuelan geopolitics).

          Presuming we both share the same goal of alleviating human suffering, then, my response:

          On oil:

          Venezuela nationalised its oil industry in 1976, and the US was one of Venezuela’s most dependable client states, later contributing 40% of revenues to the treasury under Chavez. It was US oil companies that built Venezuela’s oil industry by providing the tools and know-how to extract and refine the particular ‘heavy’ crude oil that characterises Venezuela’s reserves.

          But Chavez, motivated by “revolutionary” zeal, kicked out the very experts that were keeping oil production at over 3 million barrels a day, causing the infrastructure to crumble and decay. Today, production is down to around 1 million barrels a day. This had absolutely nothing to do with the US which, in the meantime, got on with the task of gaining energy independence, becoming the world’s biggest producer of oil and gas.

          Nowadays, the US has no interest at all in Venezuela’s petrocarbons. Its primary concern is security. Venezuela has opened the door – and thus the American hemisphere – to the Chinese, the Iranians and the Russians, who have profited from Venezuela’s insolvency to become predatory lenders and sanctions busters. In exchange, Maduro is handing over mineral resources in the Canaima to private oligarchs and militias – who are not only destroying these world heritage sites with mercury poisoning, but murdering the very indigenous people who Chavez swore to represent – while hosting signal intelligence installations and military bases on its territory. Not to mention its role in the global drug trade or its relationship with the FARC, to whom it offers safe haven and whom it enlists in drug operations.

          South America’s problems:

          Cuban-controlled Venezuela is the prime mover and funder of a brand of “leftist” (what does that even mean any more?) populism in South America which leaves human misery wherever it rears its ugly head. It has been a long term project that was sweetened with oil and cash handouts to ideological partners in the region, beginning with bankrupt Cuba itself. So forgive my “long-winded diatribes” if I should go to the effort of diligently trying to explain to this audience that there is social, political and moral nuance and context behind why the El Sistema brand – and NOT the work of educating children in music per se – should be dumped in the trash can labelled “Toxic”. I know you admire your Latin American revolutionaries, Mr. Osbourne, but that’s probably because you’ve never been starved, killed, tortured, or rendered stateless by one.

          On agendas:

          I have no hidden agendas. My agenda is overt and transparent: to de-mystify a brutal, destructive regime of thugs and criminals who cynically hijacked a classical music program to launder the regime’s true activities and globally promote a moribund ideology of “Revolution!” that still – despite the historic levels of human misery it has caused – enjoys protection by western academics and politicians on the far left of the political spectrum.

          Why must I tolerate the inference that such an “agenda” is morally questionable, given its stated goal of confronting tyranny?

  • Simon Scott says:

    Seems like the fall of yet another dictatorship. Plenty more to go…..

  • Angyalka says:

    It seems to be the same project with a different name.

    “No mention is made of Sistema’s origins in dictatorial Venezuela”
    A common misconception. El Sistema was founded in 1975.
    It is true, it has being exploited and used as propaganda by the dictatorial government since Chavez’s presidency.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    “No mention is made of Sistema’s origins in dictatorial Venezuela.”

    According to Wikipedia, El Sistema was founded in 1975, while Venezuela was more or less democratic, whereas Hugo Chavez didn’t come to power until 2007. Whatever Abreu’s faults and El Sistema’s current status, its origins certainly preceded the so-called Bolivarian revolution.

    • DanielS says:

      Correct, except that Chavez arrived to power in 1999. He said he was a follower of Tony Blair, that the Cuba regime was a dictatorship and also that he was not a socialist. Right after winning the first election he turned the country in a sovietic communist colony. All subsequent elections have been rigged.

  • DanielS says:

    Maduro is a puppet of Putin and the Cuban regime. He was not elected by tye Venezuelan people. His poor econonic management and army groups have caused the largest emigration in history in the western hemisphere. This is a good call.