‘Despacito’ singers condemn use of song by Venezuelan government

Caracas (CNN)Luis Fonsi, the singer behind the wildly popular song “Despacito,” often applauds others who cover his big hit. But not this time.

On Monday, Fonsi condemned Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for creating an altered version of “Despacito” to promote an upcoming referendum that opponents say will erode the last signs of democracy in the South American nation.
“My music is for all those who want to listen to it and enjoy it, (but it’s) not to be used as propaganda that intends to manipulate the will of a people that’s crying out for liberty and a better future,” Fonsi wrote in a statement posted to his Instagram account.

    A post shared by Luis Fonsi (@luisfonsi) on

    Maduro debuted his version of “Despacito” at a rally on Sunday to promote the July 30 vote. The rhythm and chorus are similar to the original “Despacito,” which is the most streamed song of all time. But the lyrics are entirely different.
    “We have a big message for you, it’s called ‘the constituent,’ which only wants to unify the country,” the song begins, referring to the name of the vote.
    Reggaetn star Daddy Yankee, who sings in a remix of the song with Justin Bieber, also condemned Maduro’s mash-up.
    He said it came as little surprise that someone who had “stolen so many lives” would illegally appropriate a song for a “disastrous marketing plan.”
    “Your dictatorial regime is not only a mockery for my Venezuelan brothers but for the entire world,” he said in an Instagram post Monday.

    Qu se puede esperar? de una persona que le ha robado tantas vidas a jvenes soadores y a un pueblo que lo que busca es un mejor futuro para sus hijos. Que te apropies ilegalmente de una cancin (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 rgimen dictatorial. Con ese nefasto plan de mercadeo, usted solo continuar poniendo en evidencia su ideal fascista, que ha matado a cientos de hroes y ms de 2000 heridos. Como co-autor del tema, tambin me uno a las expresiones de la co-autora de la cancin "Despacito" @erikaender. #NoAprobado #BastaYa #venezuelalibre

    A post shared by Daddy Yankee (@daddyyankee) on

    Maduro isn’t the first in Venezuela to use “Despacito” for political means. Venezuelan opposition leaders created a modified version of it to rally voters for an unofficial vote on July 16 against Maduro’s referendum. Fonsi didn’t object to that version.
    Fonsi posted a message earlier in July cheering the release of Leopoldo Lopez, one of Maduro’s biggest political opponents who had been imprisoned since 2014 on disputed charges of encouraging violence. Fonsi also posted a video in June of young Venezuelans singing his song.
    The referendum would replace the opposition-controlled National Assembly with an entirely new institution, the constituent assembly, filled with more than 500 Maduro supporters. He could then rewrite the constitution to his liking and strip political power away from opponents.
    Months of protests against the referendum and Maduro have left close to 100 people dead. On Monday, protesters held a vigil to those who have died. Witnesses told CNN that police dispersed the youth with rubber bullets.

    #Venezuela youth opposition holding vigil for those who have fallen. #police disperse crowd with rubber bullets.

    A post shared by Ma Brocchetto (@mabrocchetto) on

    More than seven million Venezuelans cast ballots in the July 16 vote against Maduro’s referendum. Maduro ignored the results.
    President Donald Trump said in a statement that Maduro “dreams of becoming a dictator.”
    Trump has threatened “strong and swift economic action” if Maduro goes through with the vote. Maduro said the vote is happening regardless of what Trump says or does.
    Against the backdrop of political turmoil, Venezuela is in a severe humanitarian crisis triggered by years of economic mismanagement. Citizens suffer through mass shortages of food and medicine.

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