Home News Reality show contestants compete for dictator’s campaign jingle

Reality show contestants compete for dictator’s campaign jingle


Flashing neon lights. cheering audience.this lively host Wearing a seafoam green suit, her back was slicked back. Jury wearing sunglasses. Contestants share emotional, personal stories before putting their songs on the microphone.

It has all the elements of a typical singing competition. But the winner of the contest won’t make any money or receive a recording contract.

Instead, contestants on the show “M Factor” competed to write and perform songs to become the official campaign song for the party of Venezuela’s authoritarian leader, President Nicolás Maduro.

Mr Maduro, whose authoritarian government has been in power for more than a decade, is under investigation by the International Court of Justice for crimes against humanity.

But at home, Mr. Maduro has at times tried to promote a moderate side, using state-controlled media to portray his government as a dimwitted, fun-loving figure trying to save the country from what they say are its imperialist enemies. That is the United States.

in his own weekly tv shows Mr Maduro appeared alongside brightly dressed traditional singers and dancers who sang songs promoting his policies. Another series on national television features cartoon superheroes called “super mustacheThe resemblance to Mr. Maduro, who saved the Venezuelan people from disaster, is striking.

Many see such shows as a distraction from years of economic woes that have caused more than 7 million Venezuelans, a quarter of the country’s population, to leave since 2015.

But national lawmaker Winston Vallenilla, the host of “M Factor,” a longtime TV actor and a supporter of Mr. Maduro, said that was not true.

“‘M Factor’ was born out of an artist movement,” he said in an interview. “It was born out of people’s need to express themselves through music. It was not born out of a call from President Nicolás Maduro.”

“There is no financial interest here,” he added. “The only interest is the interest of the motherland.”

“M Factor” producer Camilla Fabri said in a press release that the show was conceived after Mr. Maduro’s campaign received multiple jingle proposals.spontaneously“.

The show premiered on public television station TVES on April 28, with 35 contestants in 8 episodes. The final episode will air on June 10, seven weeks before the scheduled July 28 presidential election.

“Venezuela has so many singers, so much promise,” Maduro said when he announced the contest three weeks ago. “We have to express this historic moment, their aspirations, their hopes.”

The judges, all known Maduro supporters with business ties to the government, had little criticism of the performance and heaps of praise on the president, whose approval rating otherwise hovers around 35 percent.

Condemnation of the crippling U.S. economic sanctions on Venezuela has come up frequently — from hosts, Mr. Maduro’s campaign messages aired during the show and a contestant’s song that included the line: “They want to rule us , that gringo empire.”

“The United States has done us a lot of harm,” Valenilla said on one episode. “Always trying to destroy the freedom, independence and sovereignty of the people.” Throughout the show, Mr. Valenilla called Mr. Maduro “the president of peace” and “Venezuela’s greatest defender of culture.”

A contestant in a cowboy hat, surrounded by flamenco dancers, sang: “Listen to me, Nicolas. I’m going to shout it louder: with 10 million votes, you will win.” Mr. Vallenilla later Chatting with this contestant named Neo Blanco on stage.

“He’s not here, but he’s watching you on television,” Mr. Valenilla said, referring to the president. “So what would you say to President Nicolás Maduro in this special moment?”

“do not give up, friend. There are a lot of guys out there,” Neo Blanco said. “If one day we have to retire and fight the toughest fight, count on us, brother. “

Sierra Urdaneta Reporting from Maracaibo.

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