Following a week of deadly protests in Venezuela, and coinciding with a march by thousands of demonstrators across the city of Caracas on Sunday (Apr. 23), Ruben Blades called for an end to the violence via his website.
"The government violence against the civilian population, or by civilians against civilians, must cease in Venezuela," the Panamanian, singer, composer, actor and activist wrote in Spanish in a post published yesterday, titled "About Recent Events in Venezuela."
"Venezuelans cannot lose their lives because of the intransigence of political factions engaged in a power struggle," the conscious salsa pioneer wrote . "This has already happened in other latitudes, and the consequences continue to provoke horror and division."
At least 20 people have been killed in the anti-government uprising in recent weeks that was set off by the March 29 decision by the country's Supreme Court to seize the power of the opposition-dominant National Assembly, which critics said opened the door for President Nicolas Maduro to seize near complete control of the nation.
"With all due respect to Venezuelan society in its entirety, I dare to suggest to President Maduro that he considers governing for all of Venezuela, not only for those who praise him, or for those who think like him," Blades wrote. "Gone are the days of dictatorial leaders and chieftaincies; if the government is so sure that it has the majority of popular support, then it should agree to immediately hold elections to demonstrate its legitimacy. With equal respect, we ask the politicians from the opposition to act with the necessary civic and human responsibility, not to incite acts of violence, and to the resist the temptation to rise to power at any cost. The polarization that exists today would only be continued and sustained." Read Blades' entire text in Spanish here.
Last week, the United Nations called on Maduro's government and the opposition to reinitiate talks "and create the necessary conditions to address the country's challenges for the benefit of the Venezuelan people." On Venezuelan television on Sunday, Maduro expressed willingness for dialogue and local, but not national, elections.
Spanish pop star Alejandro Sanz has been waging his own protest campaign against Maduro via social media, going as far as to call him a coward.
"The blood of Carlos José Moreno (17 years) is on your hands Maduro. Coward," Sanz tweeted in Spanish, together with an image of the body of a teen who was on his way to play soccer when he was shot in the street.
La sangre de Carlos José Moreno (17 años) está en tus manos Maduro. Cobarde. #19A #19AVzlaContraElGolpe pic.twitter.com/x6qv6ynD1G
- Alejandro Sanz (@AlejandroSanz) April 19, 2017
On Sunday, Sanz Tweeted a photo of the multitudes in Caracas with the message "we are with Venezuela."
Estamos con Venezuela #VenezuelaLibre https://t.co/UGg4B7g8GV pic.twitter.com/PXSgzWFLzP
- Alejandro Sanz (@AlejandroSanz) April 23, 2017