FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2017
DISSIDENT VIOLINIST RELEASED BUT NOT TRULY FREE
As Wuilly Arteaga attempts to recover from a harrowing incarceration, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation condemns Maduro regime’s purging of dissent
Washington, D.C. – Wuilly is known worldwide for playing his violin on the front lines of the protests against the tyrannical actions of Venezuela’s Maduro regime. Because of this, the regime has attacked him repeatedly. First, they destroyed his violin. Then, he was shot in the face. On July 27th, he was arrested for “public incitement” and “possession of incendiary materials.” During his detainment by the Bolivarian National Guard, Wuilly was tortured. Now, Wuilly has been released under so-called “precautionary measures.” However, he is still facing illegitimate criminal charges.
“For nineteen harrowing days, Wuilly was held in custody by Maduro’s Cuban-backed regime simply because he was a violinist who protested against socialist oppression. Despite being shot in the face, burned, beaten, and tortured, Wuilly bravely maintained his pacifism and his love for his country. That the regime would treat a violinist so cruelly is a tragic reminder that authoritarian regimes have no respect for human rights and dignity.”
Smith added: “Last month’s sham election was a strategic attempt to consolidate Maduro’s power, and he is currently using so-called ‘truth commissions’ to purge all forms of dissent from Venezuela. Midnight disappearances and state-sponsored violence against peaceful protesters continue to be the norm. With over 600 political prisoners, more than 5,000 detainees, and over 130 citizens killed, Maduro is clearly waging a war against Venezuelans despite widespread calls for freedom.
Make no mistake, Wuilly’s release does not mean that he and other Venezuelans are free. The United States must not allow Maduro to establish a new communist regime in the Western Hemisphere. Cuba’s role in the crisis cannot be ignored, and the U.S. should demand the immediate withdrawal of Cuban military and intelligence personnel in Venezuela and redesignate the Castro regime as a state sponsor of terror. We cannot stand idly by as Maduro, with Cuba’s full support, purges dissent and opposition from Venezuela.”
For more information or to schedule an interview with Marion Smith, VOC Executive Director, please contact Ayla at [email protected] or (202) 629.9500.