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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Poor Venezuelans are fleeing on foot. Prominent ex-pats need to speak out

Venezuelans line up outside a supermarket in San Cristobal this week as the country faces a combination of shortages and spiraling inflation.
Venezuelans line up outside a supermarket in San Cristobal this week as the country faces a combination of shortages and spiraling inflation.
(Fernando Llano / Associated Press)

To the editor: I sincerely hope that Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Gustavo Dudamel reads the heartbreaking story of Venezuelans forced to flee their country on foot and is moved to do something more than coming out at one of his performances at the Walt Disney Concert Hall wrapped in the Venezuelan flag.

He’s now in New York conducting the New York Philharmonic, probably enjoying some very plush accommodations, while his country is dying at the hands of a tyrant and his people are forced to escape into an inhospitable world. He can’t pretend anymore that art is above politics. He knows that Venezuela is under the boot of a brutal, authoritarian government, and although it may be a little bit too late, he still has time to challenge President Nicolas Maduro.

Other Venezuelan artists have done it. It’s about time for Dudamel.

Raul De Cardenas, Los Angeles

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To the editor: The heartbreaking story on the front page of the L.A. Times fails to mention the part the U.S. has played in the travesty that is Venezuela today.

Since Hugo Chavez was elected in a landslide in 1998, the U.S. has been undermining the government in Caracas because of Chavez’s socialist ideology. This continues the U.S. pattern of interfering with Central and South American governments that do not adhere to our capitalist view.

The sanctions now imposed by the U.S. and the European Union contribute to the economic devastation in Venezuela.

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Jeanne Whitesell, Huntington Beach

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To the editor: This tragic saga gut-punched me.

Years ago, we hosted a Venezuelan high school student for six months. We’d lost contact and tried to find her as the crisis there grew worse. When we finally connected with her, she had sold her car and appliances and finally her long, beautiful hair to amass enough funds to fly to Chile.

We sent $1,000 to her friend in Argentina who found a way to get her the money. When she arrived safely in Santiago, we celebrated.

We had helped save another life, and we are forever grateful to have been able to do that.

Roz Levine, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I am saddened and dismayed by the plight of those fleeing Venezuela on foot. Tragically it is an all-too-common story line throughout Central and South America as failed governments leave generations of people with no choice but to flee.

Thank you for shining a light on this tragic exodus. We are all more informed global citizens because of it. This is why I subscribe to the L.A. Times.

Brett Schreiber, San Diego


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