There have been plenty of heartbreaking stories to come out of Venezuela the last 6 weeks, but few have captured the world's attention quite like the story of Wuilly Arteaga. A regular fixture at Caracas' street demonstrations, Wuilly was often seen calmly playing classical music amid the chaos.
But on Wednesday, his violin was cruelly destroyed. Wuilly says the National Guard took the violin from him and handed it back in pieces. "I was playing in the middle of the protest when National Guard vehicles approached us and one of the guards grabbed my violin by the strings," Arteaga told Colombian news channel NTN 24. "I didn't let go, and was dragged from the motorcycle through the whole street." "At some point, I let go of the violin, because I couldn't [hold on] anymore."
Arteaga says he then pleaded with the officer to return his broken violin to him. Another officer handed it back to him. "I hugged him and ran away with the violin."
This video of Wuilly crying went viral yesterday.
Since, Wuilly has received an outpouring of support. The news soon generated a hashtag #UnViolinParaElPana (a violin for the friend). People from all over the world have been contacting Wuilly to send him a new violin, including top artists such as Marc Anthony, fellow Venezuelans Oscarcito, Franco De Vita, and Ricardo Montaner, as well as Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz.
Wuilly expressed gratitude on his Twitter yesterday: "Solo quiero que sepan que mi compromiso con mi país es ahora mucho más fuerte y que el amor que le tengo a mi tierra me hace mantenerme firme en que pronto podremos vivir en una Venezuela de paz, unión y alegría como todos los que somos VENEZOLANOS merecemos. Gracias a todos, con el corazón: QUE VIVA VENEZUELA!" (I want you to know that my commitment to my country is now much stronger and that the love I have for my land makes me sure that we can soon live in a Venezuela of peace, unity, and joy like all of us Venezuelans deserve. Thank you everyone, from the heart - long live Venezuela!