Mérida, March 14th 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – On Monday the Venezuelan government handed out 600 musical instruments to children from ten schools in Caracas, as part of a strategy to prevent crime, and bringing the number of instruments handed out so far to a total of 1,600.
The initiative, organised jointly by the ministry of justice and internal affairs and the National Anti-Drug Office (ONA), aims to hand out 24,000 instruments around the country.
The musical instruments are Venezuelan traditional instruments; the cuatro (a four-stringed small guitar), maracas, and drums.
The ministry also plans to create a National Network of Popular (grassroots) Music of public school based traditional music groups, and from there says it will organise a large national music festival.
“What better way than music to strengthen this vulnerable, at risk, segment [of the population], that’s why we decided to hand out these instruments so that [the children] are educated and join music groups that play traditional Venezuelan music,” the justice and internal affairs minister, Tareck El Aissami said.
The measure aims to strengthen “socialisation processes in favour of peace, because security, from a socialist perspective, isn’t just about police response, its prevention and the rescuing of families and children,” said El Aissami.
The government’s crime prevention strategy also involves promoting disarmament among the civilian population, and recently, a one year ban on gun imports and sales.
With a different musical focus, Venezuela is also renowned for its National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras and Choirs, or “El Sistema”. The program provides free music classes to children from poorer backgrounds, and aims to use music for social organisation and community development. The music plan was begun by Jose Antonio Abreu in 1975, but the financial and human resource support provided by the Venezuelan government has seen it expand to 150 youth and 70 children’s orchestras.