Gustavo Dudamel, the charismatic and popular young conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, is being targeted by protests in his native Venezuela and in the United States for his silence about the abuses of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Dudamel also holds the post of Music Director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in Venezuela, and travels and performs with that orchestra both at home and abroad.
Earlier this month, Dudamel drew criticism from some Venezuelans as he visited the capital city of Caracas to conduct Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 at the Foreign Ministry building, even as protests and violence filled the streets. Dudamel dedicated his concert to “peace.” Back in Los Angeles, on Friday evening, demonstrators gathered outside the Walt Disney Concert Hall to protest against Dudamel, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Pictures of the protest have since been posted on Twitter:
Protesta en Los Ángeles en concierto de Dudamel pic.twitter.com/wq1H9PAzGb
— Humberto Angrisano (@hangrisano) February 22, 2014
The protest was also attended by actress Maria Conchita Alonso, who recently made headlines by supporting Republican Tim Donnelly, a Tea Party-backed candidate for California governor:
— Daniel Fernandez (@Danfer22) February 22, 2014
Dudamel is thought to have good ties with the Maduro regime, and was a favorite of Maduro’s predecessor, the left-wing autocrat Hugo Chávez (above). As Breitbart News noted last year, Dudamel traveled to Venezuela to perform at Chávez’s funeral. He embraced Maduro at the funeral (below), in a moment captured by a photographer and apparently distributed to the media by the Venezuelan government, making the most of Dudamel’s celebrity.