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Beyond Politics

img  Tobias

A short while ago, we published an article on Venzuela's much applauded FESNOJIV program, which tries to combat poverty and social problems by providing musical education. Our point was that there were darker sides to the program - such as its possible function to cover up the actions of a quasi-dictatorial regime and violence against teachers - and that it was not a model for other countries, as many have claimed. Drew McManus is one of the proponents of the program and has visited Venezuela himself, so it seemed to make sense to ask him about how he thought about ourobjections. This is what he wrote:

    I did read your article with great interest and don't disagree with
    many of you observations, especially about the darker side of things
    down there. I heard several stories but since I only toured through
    Caracas (and always had one or more security persons with me) I
    never encountered any of that first hand. Honestly, given the crime
    rate and political structure of the country I would have been surprised
    if it were any different.

    Regarding the political issues, I actually found it intriguing that
    they've been able to keep the program growing for so long. I also
    got a strong sense that they've been structuring it in such a way so
    that regardless of what happens politically and whoever is in
    control, the program will transcend those changes. That's just my
    hypothesis mind you, but that was still one of the first things which I
    tossed around in my mind.

    Regarding whether or not the FESNOJIV program is adaptable or not
    for European or U.S. points, I don't think I would write it off as a
    complete impossibility. Granted, it's obvious that the main spark
    for the FESNOJIV program is the poverty level in Venezuela. A level
    which certainly doesn't exist in Euro or the U.S., as such those other
    countries will need to find a replacement for that component. It
    would certainly be difficult but at the same time I don't think it's
    impossible. For instance, I think a great location to implement
    something like this would be the Hawaiian Islands. They have a
    distinct culture problem and a very strong self wroth & identity
    crisis. Those issues could serve to function quite successfully as a
    replacement for the poverty issues in Venezuela. That's a much
    larger discussion of course and I have to wrap this up but I let me
    know what you think, I'd be glad to hear it.

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