Guataca Spotlight: An Interview with Valentina Quintero

Venezuelan radio and television host, writer, and social influencer, Valentina Quintero has been touted as the voice of Venezuela. While her ability to share stories and be heard has helped Valentina become a house-hold name, she credits her country and the people within it as the voice of Venezuela. Teaming up with Miguel Delgado Esteves, Valentina continues to travel through Venezuela to tell the story of her country and its people. 

Recently, Valentia Quintero sat down for an interview with Guataca Records to talk about Cuentos de Camino, or Road Stories, and the insight she has taken from her experiences. 

Q: How does the Cuentos de Camino make you feel when you are in front of an audience of Venezuelans who are far from home?

A: Miguel and I have had the chance to recreate and share the country we all miss. You realize that the feeling of being rooted and belonging to an area is felt different when living on the outside. The entire hour and a half of Cuentos de Camino, the presence of Venezuela is there in the stories, the music, and the love. We want people to know that Venezuela is still alive, that we resist in the same way that people do in all parts of the world, and that we Venezuelans defend our country.

Q: What do you think about the work that Guataca is doing for the Venezuelan culture?

A: Guataca is keeping Venezuelan life alive and known in many parts of the world through these presentations; the creators, the talent, music, art, and theatre are all Venezuelan. So if they do not give us a passport, if they deny our identity, we will at least have a constant presence of Venezuela. And if the way to keep the Venezuelan culture vibrant is through music, art, and Venezuelan talent, then many thanks go to Guataca for making it possible. 

Q: What was it that led you to work with Miguel Delgado Estévez on “Cuentos de camino”?

A: Although Miguel and I knew each other, it was an initiative of the radio Onda, Monona, brought us together; Miguel for music and I for the stories of traveling through Venezuela. That is how Cuentos de Camino was born, which was the name that Marisela Valero invented for our production company. It has now been 14 years in the making.

Over time it evolved from radio to live performances. Miguel and I have presented in theatres and town squares. We also went to Panama and Miami. But a seven city tour, like the one we are doing right now, we have never done before. 

Q: Could you share a beautiful anecdote from your live presentations of “Cuentos de camino”? 

A: A lot of Venezuelans feel that I represent Venezuela, so everytime they hug me they say, “It’s like hugging Venezuela.” I feel very responsible–imagine what it feels like to carry Venezuela around all the time. But it is true. I have dedicated myself to try to consolidate the sense of roots in Venezuela. We all have a sense of belonging, a strong sense now because when you feel that you are losing your homeland, you are afraid to lose it.

We presented in Phoenix, and there was a woman who when with her Venezuelan daughter, who left the country at a young age and did not know much about Venezuela. When they were in the car afterwards, the girl said to her mother, “Mom, youhave to put on more songs of Simon Diaz. I want to know more about Venezuela.” And if with these presentations we help Venezuelans feel Venezuela, then it stays there and keeps Venezuela alive. Thanks to Guataca, we have the opportunity to keep Venezuela alive in such a way. 

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