Creators of summer smash ‘Despacito’ criticized Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro for using the song in a political rally. Puerto Rican singers Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Panamian songwriter Erika Ender took to social media to criticize the politician.
Venezuela is undergoing a political, economic and social crisis and has already reached over 100 days of anti-government protest, with over 100 deads and thousands of arrested.
Daddy Yankee and Fonsi reject the use of their song for politics
By now, ‘Despacito’ is definitely the undisputed song of the summer. The catchy hit by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee was a success way before adding Justin Bieber to the mix, and when the Biebs’ remix dropped, the track just went nuclear.
With over 2.8 billion views on YouTube and 11 consecutive weeks at the top of the charts, the track has inspired a number of remixes and parodies, and while both artists have welcomed and enjoyed alternative versions of the song, they took a stand against one in particular. The one done by the Venezuelan head of government, Nicolas Maduro.
On Sunday, Maduro released a mix of ‘Despacito’ with lyrics that promoted his goal to change the country’s constitution, with what seems to many as the definite way to extend his own term.But the new mix was not welcomed by the tracks’ authors who quickly drawn a sharp and public slap-down to Maduro.
“At no time I have been consulted or have I authorized the use or change of Despacito lyrics for political ends, less so in the context of the deplorable situation affecting a country that I love so much as #Venezuela,” Luis Fonsi wrote in a post to his 4.5 million followers on Instagram.
“My music is for all of those that want to listen to it and enjoy it, not to use it as propaganda that tries to manipulate the will of the people that are crying out for their freedom and a better future,” he added.
Daddy Yankee used his Instagram account, which has 16.5 million followers, to post an image of Maduro with a red cross drawn over the top of it.
“What else can you expect of a person who has robbed so many lives of young dreamers and of people who want a better future for their children?” the reggaeton star wrote. “Illegally appropriating a song [‘Despacito’] doesn’t compare with the crimes you commit and have committed in Venezuela.”
Erika Ender, who co-wrote the song, also commented on the photo-sharing site, saying she did not agree with the way it had been used. “I love Venezuela, a land that has given me true brothers in my heart. Brothers who suffer because of the situation that exists,” she said.
¿Qué se puede esperar? de una persona que le ha robado tantas vidas a jóvenes soñadores y a un pueblo que lo que busca es un mejor futuro para sus hijos. Que te apropies ilegalmente de una canción (Despacito), no se compara con el crimen que cometes y has cometido en Venezuela. Es una burla, no tan solo para mis hermanos venezolanos, sino para el mundo entero su régimen dictatorial. Con ese nefasto plan de mercadeo, usted solo continuará poniendo en evidencia su ideal fascista, que ha matado a cientos de héroes y más de 2000 heridos. Como co-autor del tema, también me uno a las expresiones de la co-autora de la canción "Despacito" @erikaender. #NoAprobado #BastaYa #venezuelalibre 🇻🇪
Appropriating songs…and lives
The appropriation of the song took place at a rally last Sunday, Maduro introduced a version of the song with new lyrics encouraging the audience to vote in the country’s upcoming election to form a “constitutional assembly. ” Which would be in charge of rewriting the country’s 18-year-old Constitution.
As the song begins to play, Maduro can be seen telling the audience “let’s see if it goes viral.” Afterward, he asks: “What do you think, eh? Is this video approved?” While ‘Despacito’ is known for its explicit lyrics, the version played on Venezuelan TV contained less exciting lyrics, including,
“It is the call to the constituent that only wants to unite the country.” “Dear brothers here, I am singing to you / I have a great message for you / It is the call to the constituent that only wants to unite the country.”
— Thomas van Linge (@arabthomness) July 25, 2017
While Maduro sings and dances on national TV promoting to rewrite the national constitution, the country struggles in amid of an economic and social crisis. For years Venezuela has experienced a crippling recession and the continual drop in oil prices, which is the country’s primary economic driver. Venezuela is the source of 10 percent of oil imports to the U.S.
Along with the economic crisis, the country has faced for years now food and medicine shortage with hospital dealing with inhumane conditions. Last April, after a perceived breach of power by Venezuela’s Supreme Court, protests took the streets and had been non-stopping till today.
Maduro responded to the protests brutally with at least 90 people have been killed, 1,000 injured and 2,700 arrested in addition to political prisoners due to the unrest. A vote is set to be held on the Constituent Assembly this Sunday with critics saying it is an attempt by the unpopular leader to consolidate his power.
Opposition parties have said they will boycott the vote and have called for conventional elections, which they believe they would win, instead. An informal referendum, in which seven million people rejected the idea of the Constituent Assembly, was held by opposition parties earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Maduro says the special assembly is the only way to bring peace back to the Venezuela.