Venezuelan president calls classical music maestro a traitor

Maduro blasts maestro Dudamel for speaking out

By Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

In this Jan. 1, 2017 file photo, maestro Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. AP FILE

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is at war with the country's beloved classical music maestro. 

Gustavo Dudamel, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s musical director, was distraught after 17-year-old violinist Armando Cañizales was shot dead during a protest against Maduro in Miami.  

During a Friday night television appearance, Maduro said Dudamel had betrayed the socialist government. 

Maduro said Dudamel had betrayed El Sistema, a government-funded program that educated musicians nationwide. Violinist Wuilly Arteaga believes Maduro is the one who betrayed Venezuela's musicians. 

Arteaga has been persecuted for choosing to play his violin, while Maduro's riot police attack students who are willing to sacrifice it all for a better Venezuela. 

Arteaga's violin was damaged. He later suffered injuries while playing. He was arrested. Arteaga said he was tortured and witnessed a sexual assault while in custody. Now authorities have banned him from playing his violin in the streets of Venezuela. 

Dudamel, who lead the program that nurtured both Cañizales and Arteaga, toured with El Sistema ensembles. He also supported Maduro during the protests against him in 2014. The death of Cañizales during a protest in May changed his mind. 

Dudamel is scheduled to lead the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela in a U.S. tour next month.

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