Friday, September 21, 2012

Venezuelan “Amigos” Upset Over Chavez Ad

With Venezuela’s presidential elections less than a month away both incumbent Hugo Chavez and rival Henrique Capriles are seeking any advantage they can get.  Yet the use of music to support the current president has raised the ire of one well-known Venezuelan band.

Members of Los Amigos Invisibles have asked a state-run radio station to quit running pro-Chavez campaign ads that use their 2004 song “Majunche.” 

"They've expropriated Majunche.  Just what we needed," tweeted bass player Jose Rafael Torres after the group found out that the YVKE station used their song. Meanwhile a spokeswoman for the band's management claimed to Reuters that the song was utilized without the band’s permission.

The instrumental tune, whose title is roughly translated as “Loser,” was played behind a speech where Chavez declared that “The loser won't win elections in Venezuela ... this year, or even in 2,000 years!”

Several members of “Los Amigos” have not been shy in admitting that they support the former governor of Miranda state.  “I would like to be an oligarch but I don’t have any lands…I’ve been forced to be on the opposition by conviction,” Torres tweeted.  Percussionist Marco Arias composed a song for the Capriles campaign entitled “Algo bueno está pasando” (“Something good is happening”).  Lyrics for the upbeat tune include “We’re all going to celebrate” and “Something good is happening, change is coming.”

Most polls place Chavez in varying double-digit leads ahead of Capriles though one recent poll from Interdata released in the media outside Venezuela gave the opposition candidate a 52%-48% advantage.

This has not been the first time that presidential hopefuls have used popular music without permission for their campaigns.  Last October, Sony Music sent a cease and desist letter after "Stand By Me" was used in a copycat song by Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega's campaign.  Colombian pop rock star Juanes in 2010 accused then-presidential candidate Juan Manuel Santos of "abuse" after "La Camisa Negra" was rewritten into a campagn jingle.

The misappropriation of may be unethical for the likes of Juanes but in the end both Ortega and Santos won their respective elections.  It remains to be seen if the same good luck should fall on Chavez next month despite the complaints of Los Amigos Invisibles.

Video Source– YouTube via Raimundoteran1, VasilieV_C

Online Sources –, El Universal, Chicago Tribune, The Latin Americanist, Mercopress

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