VIO News Blog

June 26, 2008

Venezuela’s Youth Music Programs Praised

Filed under: Daily News Roundup — VenWorld @ 9:51 am
Tags: , , , , ,

The success of Venezuela’s free orchestra programs for children in low-income families is highlighted again today, this time by the AP. The program — called “El Sistema” — has existed for over 30 years, and is currently educating a quarter of a million disadvantaged young people. Because of it, Venezuela has burst onto the world stage as a premier spot for classical music talent, producing greats such as conductor Gustavo Dudamel, who will head the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2009. Dudamel says, “‘El Sistema’ has given me everything. It gave me the possibility of having a path in life with music.”

Leaders in Bolivia’s Chapare region are rejecting U.S. anti-drug aid. The AP reports that a coca grower stated: “We want USAID to go. If USAID leaves, we will have aid from Venezuela, which is unconditioned and in solidarity.” USAID gave $87 million in aid to Bolivia in 2007, but chemical eradication schemes and programs to promote alternatives to drug crops have failed.

Also in regional news, Peru’s President Alan Garcia joined other Latin American leaders in speaking out against new anti-immigration laws in the European Union. According to the AP, Garcia called the new laws “abusive,” and said they mistreat immigrants. He plans to unite a group of OAS countries against the measures, including Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Bloomberg reports that the Andean Community trade group has threatened to suspend trade talks with the EU unless the law is revised.

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