EMPAC EVENT

Talk cancelled as situation in Venezuela turns dire

Ileana Ramírez was scheduled to speak at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center about the Venezuelan and Latin American cultural scene during ongoing political crisis in Venezuela on Monday. However, the talk was cancelled because she was unable to travel due to the current volatile situation in Venezuela.

Ramírez is the Director of Programs at Fundación Cisneros in Caracas, Venezuela, which is an organization dedicated to the appreciation and advancement of art and artistic ideas from Latin America. In 2009, Ramírez founded Trafico Visual, an online platform for hosting contemporary art related to the Venezuelan and Latin American cultural scene. In 2017, she also organized the Seminario de Crítica de Arte with the cultural office of the Spanish Embassy in Venezuela. A salient aspect of Ramírez’s career is getting local and international communities to recognize and appreciate Venezuelan and Latin American art.

Venezuela has been experiencing a countrywide blackout since March 7, 2019. As of the time of writing, this blackout is still ongoing. The power outage has impacted nearly all Venezuelans, and the majority of businesses and essential services such as food and water supplies, healthcare, transport, and telecommunications are shut down. According to a tweet by NetBlocks, only around 12 percent of Venezuelans were connected to the internet on Monday. The situation has grown so dire that some are giving up hope; according to NPR one citizen was quoted saying “this is going to end ugly.”

The situation has grown worse since mid-January, and has now come down to a power struggle between incumbent President Nicolás Maduro and National Assembly President Juan Guaidó, the latter of whom is recognized as the true leader of Venezuela by the U.S., most of the European Union, Canada, Australia, and most of Latin America. It is unclear what the eventual outcome of this political tussle will be.

Rensselaer is hoping to reschedule Ramírez’s talk for a later date during the spring semester. Nothing else has yet been confirmed.