CARACAS, Venezuela — On the streets of this tense capital, protesters challenging government troops often throw rocks, bottles, even molotov cocktails. But Wuilly Arteaga battled riot police with the defiant strains of his violin.
A fixture in the front lines in recent months, playing on despite stinging volleys of tear gas, the 23-year-old became a symbol of the opposition to President Nicolás Maduro’s authoritarian government. Videos of Arteaga concentrating on his music amid scenes of chaos quickly went viral, and were shared in Venezuela to boost morale among the protesters.
They also made him a target.
During a demonstration last month in eastern Caracas, as Arteaga played a song called “Soul of the Plains,” Maduro’s national guard swooped down on him. His story provides a window on the tactics of a government that has allegedly used intimidation, torture and propaganda to cement its power. …