Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel, a fierce critic of President Nicolas Maduro, said on Monday that the government-backed Venezuela National Youth Orchestra's tour of the United States has been canceled, calling the move heart-breaking.
Dudamel, who is Venezuelan, has vocally criticized the Venezuelan government in recent months as President Maduro conducted an election in July to establish a new Venezuelan Constituent Assembly. This has not gone unnoticed and a nettled President Nicolas Maduro, criticised Dudamel for abandoning his country by living overseas. "My dream to play with these wonderful young musicians can not come true this time", Dudamel tweeted. "Nothing justifies bloodshed", the director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic wrote on his Facebook page in a post urging Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro "to listen to the people".
On Friday, President Maduro responded. "It's okay, Gustavo Dudamel, may God forgive you for letting yourself be deceived".
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"I don't live overseas, true".
"Heart-breaking cancellation of our 4-city NYOV US tour".
Dudamel's tour with the government-backed Venezuelan National Youth Orchestra was set to begin September 9 near Washington before continuing to Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
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On that occasion Dudamel suggested that Venezuela is "traveling down a risky road that leads us inevitably to the rupture of our deepest republican traditions". Maduro's opponents, angered by an economic crisis that is causing widespread hunger and shortages, have demanded his resignation.
Venezuela has invited governments from across the Americas that have taken a position on its political processes to gather for high-level talks.
The invitation was made when Venezuela's controversial National Constituent Assembly (ANC) came under a new round of global criticism for allegedly usurping legislative powers, even though the elected body has the power to rewrite laws and amend the constitution.
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The country's congress met Saturday in defiance of the assembly's new decree.