A beautiful boondoggle

We all love music. We all love beautiful architecture. And, in spite of occasional criticism now and then, we all think El Sistema is – overall – a good thing.

We like all of these things, but not enough to approve of the construction of a million dollar state-of-the-art, Frank-Gehry-designed theater-slash-Dudamel-monument in Barquisimeto. The last theater El Sistema built cost taxpayers $350 million. This one doesn’t even have a price tag yet.

On what planet does this make sense? The country is bankrupt, and we are supposed to simply nod in agreement as the nation goes into debt in order to build this thing?


Yes, the courtains are red. Classy.

Infrastructure is crumbling. The state of our health care is appalling. We are deep in debt. Oh, and there are plenty of architects that could build a perfectly decent theater for a fraction of what Mr. Gehry is sure to charge.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the theater – IF it gets built – will be majestic. I’m certain it will make guaros proud, and will make news the world over. But we simply cannot afford all the corruption that will come in its wake and will make the actual price tag double what’s yet to be been announced. We all like classical music, but there are threshholds to our preferences.

The fact that El Sistema’s founder boasts about this arrangement just goes to show how tone-deaf he actually is.

(Sorry, this one is just a rant. I have nothing against El Sistema, but I am far from an acritical cheerleader such as those quoted in this story by the AP’s Joshua Goodman. It’s not my fault they give us so much darn material to be outraged about)

20 thoughts on “A beautiful boondoggle

    • And yet another one fell for the damn image. Francisco, I’m glad to remind you there’s a mountain behind El Poliedro and La Rinconada wherein the winding path of the Panamericana road is located, and that natural elevation of land has been removed from the picture to make the illusion of available terrain so that a sort-of XXI-century version of the UCV stadiums could be built. If in doubt, Google Earth is your friend.


  1. Oh, you will be happy to know that a second Sala is in the works. The Abreu twins (The other one is the one in El Universal, testaferro sin igual) recently picked a plot of land in the Zona Rental of UCV to build a Concert Hall to hold the Mozart Festival (if my memory is right on the name of the Festival). They claimed that Merentes already has the money for it. You may wonder why not use Teresa Carreño. Well, you can’t schedule stuff in Teresa Carreño, because the President may on the spur of the moment decide to hold an event and yours will be cancelled.


  2. I agree. Rather than build a monument to themselves, why don’t they think of the kids. I mean really, they should leave the grandiosity to Mahler.


  3. How appropriate it is that the Chavistas are already setting-up the stage and getting the violinists ready to play while the Titanic sinks!


    • And, ….and, ….they’ve convinced most of the pueblo to wait until ‘after’ the concert on the Titanic to be eligible for their free Haier refridgerator….


  4. Thugs when they become despots love to build great massive monuments of stone and marble to project the magnificence of their omnipotence and grandiosity of course dedicating them to things which they want people to identify with them , They are really monuments to themselves . This is no exception , think of the Pyramids the pharaohs build as their tombs , The domus aureum of Nero, the Great Dome which Hitler wanted built in Berlin , all collosal and inhuman in scale . The real magnificence lies in the music which is interpreted inside them , the rest is fancy window dressing !!.


  5. C’mon…guys,…do you really think we’ll ever see this? Just take a drive around this country and note all of the half-finished buildings and complexes. If progress was measured by the number of big announcements, glitzy launches and well-publicized ribbon cuttings, Venezuela would be a world beater.

    Oh, I’m sure this will somehow obtain funding and some person — undoubtedly with a similar last name of a sitting minister — will end up holding the construction contract. And they will do a ground breaking, just like all of the many groundbreakings we see every day of the week across Venezuela. But we will never see a finished project, nor will they ever figure out where a half a billion dollars went. Look up in the hills towards the Hotel Humbolt for a better idea of what to expect from this project. Google the Palace of the Soviets, or Volkshalle, for other examples of grandiose dedications to dictators and bad ideology which never made it past blueprints and press conferences.


  6. The infatuation of these people with the external emblems of The Imperio they despise is absolutely maniacal. But they look to the wrong empire! Much more in their style would be the Roman Empire with its colisseums, open spaces to gather their bigots and hold the massive rallies that they so much cherish. Pan y circo!


  7. Oh, man, how could I forget about this one?
    The biggest skate ramp evur! xDDDD

    Also, I’m a guaro, and no, I won’t be proud of that money waste at all.


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