CARACAS, Venezuela — There’s a new take on the hit Latin pop song “Despacito.” And this one is not garnering accolades from its producers.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro premiered a remix of the song by Puerto Rican duo Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee Sunday, transforming the record-setting single about a slow, romantic seduction into a campaign jingle for his contested constitution rewrite.
“For the unity and peace of our country,” the remix begins. “The constituent assembly moves forward.”
Fonsi and Daddy Yankee took to social media Monday to veto the new spin on their song, which recently became an even bigger hit with a remix featuring Justin Bieber.
“My music is for everyone to listen to and enjoy, 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,” Fonsi said in a message posted to his Twitter account.
“What can you expect from a person who has robbed the lives of so many young people filled with dreams?” Daddy Yankee said on Twitter, along an image picturing a news story about Maduro’s take on the song crossed out in red. “That you illegally appropriate a song (Despacito) doesn’t compare with the crime you commit and have committed in Venezuela.”
Maduro is pressing forward with his pledge to hold a July 30 election to select delegates to a special assembly that will be tasked with rewriting the troubled nation’s constitution despite international outcry and a protest movement that has left at least 97 dead.
More than 7.5 million Venezuelans recently voted in a symbolic referendum against the constituent assembly and the opposition has vowed to hold a 48-hour strike in protest this week.
Opposition leaders fear Maduro will use the constitution rewrite to further consolidate his power and silence any critical voices.
Supporters of the president swayed to the catchy remix while dressed in matching T-shirts and baseball caps featuring campaign slogans Sunday. Maduro often sings and dances while giving forceful speeches aired on state television.
“Is that video approved?” he asked after the song concluded.
“Yes!” the crowd responded in unison.
Panamanian singer Erika Ender, who composed the song with Fonsi, also gave thumbs down to the new recording.
“To see a song that I co-wrote used without permission to promote campaigns tied to the regime that has a country unhappy and suffering, far from making me happy, enrages me,” she wrote on Instagram.
Story: Jorge Rueda