A Venezuelan pop group claims that their music is the latest prey of President Hugo Chávez’s campaign of expropriations.
Los Amigos Invisibles, a band that plays a blend of disco, acid jazz and funk mixed with Latin rhythms, claims that a state-owned radio station did not ask permission to run a remixed version of its song "Majunche" as part of a re-election campaign plug for Chávez, Reuters reported.
"They've expropriated Majunche, just what we needed," tweeted bass player José Rafael Torres.
Released in 2004, “Majunche” – which roughly translated to the word “loser” – is an instrumental song which is occasionally broken up when the band shouts the song’s title. Venezuela’s state-owned radio station YVKE Mundial ran the song behind a speech by Chávez in which he says: "The loser won't win elections in Venezuela ... this year, or even in 2,000 years!"
Chávez is up for reelection this year against opposition candidate Henrique Capriles. The Venezuelan leader, who has been in power since 1998, faces his toughest reelection campaign since taking office.
Economic issues – much like the upcoming elections in the U.S. – are key factors in Venezuelan voter’s minds.
I love Chávez and I want him to remain in power for many more years, but I must confess that some people like me have suspicions that he hasn't told us the whole truth about his cancer.
- Maria Lovera, a street vendor in Caracas
“A victory by Henrique Capriles would produce a very strong Venezuelan bond rally that would allow the country in the future to sell debt at substantially lower yields than it can today,” said Alejandro Grisanti, Latin America economist at Barclays, according to Bloomberg.
Besides dealing with a troubled economy, a major debt crisis and a turbulent oil industry, Venezuela’s voters are also concerned with Chávez’s health. The Venezuelan leader was diagnosed with an unknown form of cancer 15 months ago and has since made frequent trips to Cuba to have tumors removed from his pelvic region.
Despite declaring that he was cancer free back in July, doubts still exist about his health and ability to run the OPEC-nation.
"I love Chávez and I want him to remain in power for many more years, but I must confess that some people like me have suspicions that he hasn't told us the whole truth about his cancer," said Maria Lovera, a street vendor in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. "The possibility of him getting sick again and having to step down exists."
With the election less than three months away, Chávez’s rival Capriles maintains a slight lead in the polls over the current Venezuelan leader, according to Consultores 21, a Caracas- based polling company.
Capriles had 48.1 percent against 46.2 percent for Chavez in a poll taken at the end of August. The poll surveyed 1,000 people, was taken in the final two weeks of August and has a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.
“If we were to make a linear projection for the election, it would be that Capriles will maintain an advantage of 2.5 percent over Chávez,” said Consultores 21 President Luís Christiansen, according to Bloomberg.
Other polls, however, favor Chávez. According to a Datanalisis poll of 1,288 people taken between July 16 and Aug. 9, Chávez would take 46.8 percent of the vote compared with 34.2 percent for Capriles.