Saturday, February 16, 2008

Shakira and Beckham take on Chavez

The cancellation of a gig by Alejandro Sanz, after he'd criticised Hugo Chavez, was meant to have been a quiet cancellation. Not now, unfortunately, as celebrities have got involved. Shakira, David Beckham and "music's Ricky Martin" have signed a letter calling on the singer to not be silenced.

Actually, though, he hasn't really been silenced - he's just been refused permission to play at a state-owned stadium. It's not acceptable that the government should cancel the date because Sanz called for a referendum on recalling Chavez from the presidency, but from the reports we've seen, he's not being banned from performing, only from performing at a venue underwritten by the state he disapproves of. It's not so much a question of censorship as whether Chavez is using state property as if he was a media company CEO.

The sudden media interest in a gig in Valenzuela was, of course, in no way an attempt to move the news agenda on from the awkward resignation of Spielberg from the Olympics.