Venezuela’s Maduro Sings Lewd Version of ‘Despacito’ as He Announces Re-election Bid

On Tuesday, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro told a group of red shirt-clad followers that he will officially run for re-election in April’s snap presidential vote—and he did so to the rhythm of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s smash hit “Despacito.”

During a rally in Caracas, Maduro announced his intention to extend his term for six more years by changing the song lyrics for a more salacious version. In reference to former National Assembly president and opposition leader Henry Ramos Allup—Maduro’s political foe—the left-leaning leader said he would “despacito [Spanish for “slowly”] shove it up [to Allup], 10 million votes down his gut, slowly.”

“I will be loyal to the legacy of Hugo Chávez,” Maduro added as he danced to reggaeton with his wife, Cilia Flores, in front of a banner that showed his and the deceased leader’s faces, Reuters reported.

Last January, Maduro said he was ready to be re-elected following the call of the Constituent Assembly—a powerful legislative body created last summer to override the opposition-run National Assembly’s decision-making—to hold elections on April 22. Most of the opposition figures—such as Henrique Capriles, Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma—are barred, jailed or exiled, while others have ruled out the possibility to be in the race because they consider it fraudulent.

On Friday, the Washington-based Organization of American States—a multilateral institution that oversees Western Hemispheric affairs—approved a resolution which would urge Caracas to reconsider holding the April elections. The organization also asked Maduro to propose a new election calendar in order to guarantee a “just and free” process with international supervision.

Venezuela and Bolivia categorically rejected the call to this extraordinary session, in which the resolution was enacted in a 19-5 vote.

Despite the opposition’s refusal to participate, former state governor Henri Falcon defied said call and announced Tuesday that he would run against the incumbent leader. “The government promised a paradise to millions of Venezuelans, but they gave him hell,” said Falcon, who was a former Chávez supporter.

He also called Maduro a “hunger candidate,” in reference to Venezuela’s rampant humanitarian crisis and a deepening recession that have forced more than 500,000 citizens to seek better conditions in neighboring countries such as Colombia last year.

Falcon defended his move and added that he’s operating independently of the opposition, which now accuses him of “trying to grab the spotlight,” according to Reuters. Despite portraying himself as a center-leftist, members of the opposition have grown suspicious of Falcon’s chavista background, and they added in a statement that “elections in these conditions will not solve anything.”

HenriFalcon Former Lara Governor Henri Falcon gets ready to address the press, after submitting his presidential registration application, at the National Electoral Council (CNE) headquarters in Caracas on February 27, 2018. CARLOS BECERRA/AFP/Getty Images

In addition to Falcon, Maduro would be facing another rival. Javier Bertucci, a little-known evangelical pastor, confirmed his candidacy, Reuters underscored. However, it is unlikely that both candidates would defeat Maduro, given that the election board sides with the incumbent president.

This is not the first time Maduro used Fonsi’s song for political reasons. Last summer, the Venezuelan strongman told opponents that his Constituent Assembly project was going to happen by altering the song lyrics. In response, the Puerto Rican singer issued a statement in Spanish via Instagram, saying: “At no time I’ve been consulted, nor I’ve authorized the use or change of Despacito’s lyrics for political purposes, much less in the deplorable situation that a country that I love as much as Venezuela is in.”