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?

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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)

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