Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro appropriated the hit single “Despacito” on Sunday as a part of a campaign to change the country’s constitution ― and Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee are not happy.
Maduro’s remixed version attempted to piggyback on the single’s global popularity to sway the Venezuelan people to accept his push to hold an election for a special assembly that would rewrite the constitution to give the president more power.
“For the unity and peace of our country,” his version says. “The constituent assembly moves forward.”
Singer Daddy Yankee, along with song co-author Fonsi, wrote on social media that they were upset to see their work used as a part of a political propaganda effort. “Despacito” is the most streamed song ― ever ― across the world, and Daddy Yankee is the first Latino artist to reach No. 1 on Spotify.
“Never was I consulted, nor did I authorize the use of change of lyrics of ‘Despacito’ for political use, much less in the middle of the deplorable situation that a country that I love so much, Venezuela, is living,” Fonsi tweeted.
“My music is for everyone who wants to listen to it and enjoy it, it is not to be used as propaganda that intends to manipulate the will of a people who are screaming for their liberty and a better future,” he added.
Daddy Yankee posted an Instagram photo showing Maduro with a red “X” over his face and accompanied it with a caption chastising the leader for using his work. He echoed the sentiment Erika Enders, a co-writer of the song who said she was outraged to have her work used to “publicize campaigns linked to a regime that has a country suffering and unhappy.”
“That you illegally appropriate a song (‘Despacito’) doesn’t compare to the crimes that your commit and that you’ve committed in Venezuela,” Daddy Yankee wrote. “His dictatorship is mockery, not only for my Venezuelan brothers, but to the whole world.”
Venezuelans have widely condemned rewriting the constitution, and more than 7 million people participated in a symbolic vote on July 17 to oppose what many call a move toward a dictatorship.
Venezuelans have been in a state of crisis for over year due to the economic failings of the government. Citizens have seen their currency reach an inflation rate of 274 percent. Working conditions in hospitals have declined, as has access to supplies and medicine. Violence protests have been ongoing in the country’s capital, Caracas, for over 100 days.