Spotify has brought together Latino activists and advocates to share the stories of their struggles and activism through a series of playlists called Soundtrack de Mi Vida. This week Nacho, of Chino & Nacho, posted his playlist to tell the story of the crisis that is crippling his home country Venezuela. Nacho has been vocal about the heated political climate in Venezuela as well as the Maduro government, even speaking to the National Assembly during Youth Day in 2016. Nacho spoke with mitú about the importance of Spotify in bringing awareness to the crisis that hits very close to home.
Nacho has been using his music, fame and voice to bring attention to the humanitarian crisis that has rocked Venezuela. Now he has the support of Spotify to spread that message.
“Spotify has changed the world,” Nacho says. “Everyone is connected differently with music at this time because it is closer and more personal. To have this ability and this influence that Spotify has and to use it for a beautiful cause, which is the support of the liberty of an entire country, is something I think it is a very noble, valiant move and a valuable contribution.”
He includes his song “Valiente” in his playlist, which he wrote specifically for the youths in Venezuela.
Nacho believes music is the best way to communicate a message. However, artists also have to make sure the messages they send are what young people want to hear.
“You won’t succeed if you aren’t sending out the message that they want to hear,” he says.
While Nacho wants people to enjoy the music in his playlist, he also wants them to pay attention to what is happening in Venezuela.
“The people need to know, firstly, that there is no freedom in Venezuela,” Nacho says.
“It needs to be clear to everybody that there is no democracy in Venezuela,” he adds. “If we are all clear on that then there is hope. If people have a doubt about whether or not there is freedom in Venezuela, then that’s where we are failing because the freedom in Venezuela has been assassinated.”
Especially since an any act of resistance, even through music, is squashed in Venezuela by law.
According to Nacho, artists are trapped in a country where protests songs that question or stand up to the government are not allowed on the radio. That silencing has caused an influx of artists releasing protest music, however, which has saturated the market, making it hard for artists to have their music played in regular rotation or “reach the next level,” as Nacho puts it.
Nacho has made trips to Venezuela in support of a democratic country, but times have gotten harder and his ability to enter his home country has been restricted.
“Every time I arrive in Venezuela, it’s a big risk that I am taking because I want to return to my country,” Nacho says about traveling home. “At this point, it has been a while since I have been there because I have a letter that says that the next time I go, the first thing they are going to do is be against my travel documents. If they take my documentation in Venezuela and they don’t deliver them then they’re basically making me pay a price to enter the country. I will lose my life; what I worked for. I wouldn’t be able to see my kids again. It’s a very complicated situation.”
“Family for me isn’t just my wife and kids,” Nacho says about how travel restrictions to Venezuela have impacted his family.
“I have a lot of family that is still in Venezuela and are confronting directly this shortage crisis – of the food shortage, of the medicine shortage,” Nacho says. “They don’t have the ability to obtain health insurance in the hospitals or clinics. They have to be in long lines in order to find just one basic-needs product. They can’t leave the house because on the streets there is the feeling of a civil war that is always increasing as the crisis in Venezuela increases.”
Nacho wants people to know that there are several ways to help Venezuelans, even something as simple as sharing videos and news coming out of the country.
For people wanting to help, Nacho recommends communicating the crisis to other people. It might seem small but Nacho says that the Venezuelan government has put a gag on all media that disagrees or publishes content that goes against the government and President Nicolás Maduro. Meanwhile, publications willing to only speak positively about the current regime are given more journalistic freedom.
You can also send supplies if you can find someone to receive them.
“Sending supplies to Venezuela is also difficult and it depends on customs. As everyone is in need, the supplies don’t arrive in full. Sometimes they arrives with less than half,” Nacho says. “The National Guard takes a large part of the supplies. The politicians get part of everything that is sent, from medicine to milk. Everything up to sanitary paper. But it is a way to help. You can collect necessary supplies and send them to Venezuela.”
According to Nacho, the music in Venezuela has suffered because the crisis forces young musicians to flee to other countries.
As the country gets more and more restrictive, musicians wanting to advance their career are leaving their homeland behind to to pursue their dreams. To Nacho, it makes sense that they would want to escape the crisis and constant fighting.
The underlying hope of talent leaving Venezuela is that they will someday be able to shed light on what is happening in the country.
Si la felicidad fuese comida, entonces #Venezuela sufriría de los más altos índices de obesidad y solo habría escasez de buenos gobernantes. Extrañamente y de manera positiva para la paz de nuestro país, no importa cuántos productos de primera necesidad desaparezcan de los anaqueles, lo que nunca logra desaparecer es nuestra sonrisa. Matías en "Liquiliqui" lo sabe. 🇻🇪😬
“They have the fight to keep growing professionally,” Nacho says. “That way their voice has a little more weight. You have to focus on your career and you have to try to succeed so the people follow you in your art, in what you do and in your music and give you their attention. After that, you can start to share the message that you want to share. That takes a lot of time. I have seen that there has been a mass exodus of great professional musicians that have moved to different parts of the world and are starting that process. There is going to be a bit of time before we have a solid base of influential Venezuelans in music internationally to get a shared message out.”