Gustavo Dudamel
Photo: Mathew Imagaing

New York based Human Rights Foundation (HRF), a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, has put together one list of celebrities deserving recognition for their accomplishments in the field of human rights and a second one of the rich and famous who should be ashamed for serving the interests of human-rights violators. Among the Nominees of the first list is the Venezuelan-American concert pianist Gabriela Montero, the second list comprises the name of conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

On Dudamel HRF comments: « On February 12, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Venezuelan-born maestro was conducting mambo music for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro while Venezuelan security forces violently repressed student demonstrations nearby. The backlash against Dudamel stems not just from his silence in the face of the Venezuelan government’s human-rights abuses (a silence he justifies by claiming that artists are above politics), but also from his endorsement of the regime’s censorship and repression. In one instance Dudamel was the headliner in launching a state-sponsored television station built on the confiscated assets of a private broadcaster shut down for criticizing the government. Months ago, Dudamel wept beside former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Hugo Chávez’s funeral. In every nation’s struggle for civil rights and fundamental freedoms, there are no sidelines for those in the public eye. »

According to the HRF Jury Gabriela Montero « is known for her unique ability to compose and play pieces “on the fly” based on suggestions from audience members. But Montero has also distinguished herself by criticizing Venezuela’s government. She composed ‘Ex-Patria’ in 2011 to give a voice to political prisoners of Hugo Chávez’s regime, and has critiqued Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro, as well. Her popular videos about the problems plaguing Venezuela and outspoken criticism of artists who support the government reveal a fearless commitment to prioritizing her principles over her career goals. »


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