Venezuela Independence Day: Viral Protester Wuilly Arteaga Gets New Violin After His Was Destroyed

Wuilly Arteaga
“We gave this violin to Wuilly, so that through his music, he may continue to remind Venezuelans that those who love freedom can change the world.” — Marion Smith from Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Photo: Youtube

In the past few months, at least 85 protesters have been killed in Venezuela by the Maduro regime, and more are being targeted every day. Despite this, 23-year-old violinist Wuilly Arteaga has armed himself with his violin and gone out into the streets to play in support of the pro-democracy movement. But in May, a National Guard soldier on a motorcycle grabbed and destroyed the violin. This was not just Wuilly's property; it was his livelihood and his voice.

July 5 marks Venezuela’s Independence Day, and Wuilly is now on the streets playing with a new violin that was presented to him by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) and handpicked by Wuilly himself.

VOC named the violin after Wuilly’s friend Armando Cañizales, an unarmed teenage musician who was killed during protests in May. Wuilly played at Armando’s funeral, and promised that he would always play his own violin to honor Armando.

Upon receiving his new violin, Wuilly said: “While Armando plays in heaven, I will play along with him here... God’s grace has given me the opportunity to be an instrument of peace. I am not going to disappoint him.”

VOC Executive Director Marion Smith offered the following statement:

“Wuilly Arteaga represents the true spirit of Venezuela—one rooted in a deep love of country and a desire for a free, democratic future where people can live in peace. Every time that Wuilly plays his violin, it is an inspiring act of bravery. His musical talent is a potent reminder that the injustices of socialism can never crush the soul. That the regime would target musicians while they are playing shows that Maduro’s socialist government is dissonant with democratic principles.

Despite the atrocities perpetuated by Maduro’s regime, all is not lost. Wuilly’s courage is a reminder that the chords of freedom and liberty can never be silenced by authoritarianism. We gave this violin to Wuilly, so that through his music, he may continue to remind Venezuelans that those who love freedom can change the world.”

Smith added, “The U.S. should limit the nefarious influence of Cuba and its thousands of agents in Venezuela who are supporting the Nicolas Maduro regime. We call on the United States to continue to push for a liberated Venezuela and to stand with those like Wuilly who hope for a brighter future for their country.”

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) is a Washington, D.C.-based, non-profit educational and human rights organization devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and to the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes. VOC was established by a unanimous act of Congress on December 17, 1993 and signed by President Bill Clinton.


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Shirley Gomez has been exposed to many aspects of the art world. Besides being a Fashion Journalist, she studied Fashion Styling and Fashion Styling for Men at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Interior Design at UNIBE and Fashion Design at ITSMJ Fashion School in the Dominican Republic. She worked as a Fashion Journalist, Fashion Stylist and Social Media Manager at one of the most recognized magazines in the Dominican Republic, Oh! Magazine, as an occasional Entertainment Journalist, of the prestigious newspaper “Listín Diario”, as well as a fashion collaborator of a radio show aired in 100.9 FM SuperQ. When Shirley is not writing you can find her listening Demi Lovato or Beyonce's songs, decorating her apartment or watching Family Feud.