Viña Del Mar Music Festival in Chile Is Shaken by Violent Protests
Political protests rock the Viña Del Mar Music Festival, where stars like Ricky Martin performed.
Ricky Martin, Ozuna, Pedro Capó, and Mon Laferte are among the Latinx stars featured this year in Viña Del Mar’s famous music festival. But this year, the celebration was disrupted by protests against the government of Sebastián Piñera. Photos from Chile’s touristic destination show a very different picture than that of years past, when the spotlight was on the big stars performing at La Quinta Vergara. Now the images include burning cars, tear gas, water cannons, and police clashing with civilians.
Massive protests against social injustice and economic inequality erupted in October 2019 in the Chilean capital and other cities, and the discontent has not ceased. The local governor denounced demonstrators who “vandalized” shops, municipal offices, and the O’Higgins Hotel, where many artists are staying.
Protesters are demanding social change, like better funding of health care and education. Chilean singer Cami spoke to People CHICA last year when the protests first broke out in her country, and shed some light on the tense situation in the streets of Santiago. “The military is in the streets shooting innocent people, there is so much violence. The people themselves are stopping the soldiers and stopping what is happening,” she said. “People take care of one another when there are shots fired, they help others who have been wounded by pellets. What’s happening is terrible, but at the same time I admire the Chilean people so much for everything we are doing to lift ourselves up.”
“I trust my flag, I trust the Chilean people and I know we will overcome this,” Cami added. “We are strong, we have been through this before and we have lifted each other up after earthquakes and other [hardships]. It was necessary for people to say once and for all what was really happening because the injustices were brutal.”
Ricky Martin also reacted to the crisis in Chile. “I’ve been in Viña six times and this time, as always, I will leave my soul on the stage,” Ricky Martin said during a press conference prior to his performance. When asked by a reporter to comment on the “difficult social situation” the country is undergoing, the Puerto Rican singer and philanthropist — who was part of the protests in Puerto Rico to against former governor Ricardo Rosselló — said: “If I have the convening power that music gives me, and I can go to social media and talk about things that interest me and worry me, as a citizen, I will.”
Martin added he supports citizens around the world having free speech and demanding change, and it’s important for the newer generations to understand politics and manifest without fear. “I’m one who exhorts people to go out in the streets and demand what they need — as citizens it is our right,” he concluded. “Being firm and blunt, but with love and being open to dialogue, I think that’s how we all win.”