The hit song “Despacito” doesn’t seem to get a break when it comes to variations of the world’s most-streamed tune. First, it was Justin Bieber. But now it’s going to another level. Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro used the song and changed the lyrics for campaign purposes.
During his TV show “Los Domingos con Maduro” (Sundays with Maduro) over the weekend, the president shared the new version. The song invites people to participate in the National Constituent Assembly elections that will be held on July 30.
“I have a message for you—it is a call to La constituyente that only wants to unite the country,” the singer says, asking people to “slowly (Despacito) execute their vote instead of bullets.”
Here are some of the lyrics in Spanish:
Des-pa-cito, ejerce tu voto en vez de las balas y ve con tus ideas siempre en paz y en calma.
Tengo un gran mensaje para ti
es el llamado a la Constituyente que solo quiere unir al país
Despacito, abre bien los ojos y mira a tu gente, tiéndeles la mano mañana y siempre que son tus hermanos los que están al frente Des pa cito, ejerce tu voto en vez de las balas
y ve con tus ideas siempre en paz
y en calma y que la esperanza brille en tu alma
Venezuelans will be electing 545 citizens to form a constituent assembly. One of the assembly’s main goals is to draft a new constitution. The opposition has already rejected the upcoming elections, calling them undemocratic. On July 16, the opposition said that about seven million Venezuelans voted on an unofficial referendum to oppose Maduro’s idea. Maduro said that the July 16 vote was illegal.
Despite the results, the government keeps campaigning on behalf of the proposed assembly and will still hold elections.
It is unclear who wrote the lyrics of the modified version, but Maduro referred to them as “group of creators.”
Singer Luis Fonsi who also wrote the song reacted to Maduro’s version. He wasn’t happy and basically said that his song was never intended to be used for political purposes. According to Fonsi, he believes that Maduro’s version of “Despacito” amounts to propaganda that is trying to manipulate the will of the people who are opposing Maduro.
— Luis Fonsi (@LuisFonsi) July 24, 2017
Erika Ender, “Despacito” co-writer also posted on social media a rejection towards the Maduro song. “To see this song, that I co-authored, being used without permission to promote campaigns linked to a regime that has a country suffering, incenses me and I do not approve it,” Ender wrote.
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NO ESTOY DE ACUERDO CON ESTO. No puedo ver tanto dolor en gente a la que quiero tanto. Gente guerrera, gente con voluntad de hierro… Gente buena, que no deja de luchar por la libertad de derechos y de expresión… Amo Venezuela, tierra que me ha dado verdaderos hermanos de corazón. Hermanos que sufren por la situación que existe. Ver que una canción, en la que tengo co-autoría, se utilice sin permiso para publicitar campañas vinculadas a un régimen que tiene descontento y sufriendo a un país, lejos de alegrarme, me indigna y NO APRUEBO que se utilice. #ErikaEnder
María Camila Montañez is a journalism student at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s Spanish-language program. She is originally from Colombia and tweets from @mariacmontanez.
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