When Wuilly Moisés Arteaga walks out to play his violin in the streets of Caracas, sometimes other students stand near him with shields to protect him. This week he was in Washington D.C. to speak for them.
The 23-year-old musician and composer started to play in the streets as an homage to Armando Canizales, a 17-year-old member of the youth orchestra, who was shot in the head during a May 3 street protest. He played while students battled heavily armed riot troops with rocks and Molotov cocktails.
A video of Arteaga crying after a National Guard motorcyclist grabbed his violin by its strings and dragged him when he held on to it went viral. He received so many violins to help him continue playing that he has been giving some away to other young musicians in need.
"With our music we hope that the National Guard will reason and stop repressing us and stand on the side of the Venezuelan people," Arteaga wrote in Spanish on Twitter.
Robert Carmona- Borjas, a Venezuelan attorney who is the co-founder of the Arcadia Foundation, took notice of Arteaga and flew him to Washington D.C. The foundation has been critical of President Nicolas Maduro's socialist regime.
This week Arteaga told Cuban-American lawmakers that he has heard members of Maduro's riot troops in Caracas speak in a Cuban accent. He and other Venezuelans are concerned about the Cubans who they say are turning against protesters in Caracas.
Arteaga and Carmona- Borjas met with Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Carlos Curbelo. The musician also played his violin on Wednesday during a Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation event.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on News | WPLG.