September 18, 2012 / 5:28 PM / 6 years ago

Venezuela pop band says Chavez expropriates 'Loser' song

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan pop group Los Amigos Invisibles says it is the latest victim of socialist President Hugo Chavez’s wave of expropriations.

Members of the Venezuelan band Los Amigos Invisibles pose at the 10th annual Latin Grammy awards in Las Vegas, Nevada November 5, 2009. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

The group is demanding a state-owned radio station yank a publicity spot remixing its song “Majunche” as a re-election campaign plug for Chavez, who is known for his frequent and often uncompensated nationalizations of businesses.

The 2004 tune is mostly an instrumental jam in which the singers occasionally shout, “Majunche,” which roughly translates as “loser.” Chavez, seeking a new six-year term on October 7, uses the epithet to describe opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.

The band says the radio station did not seek rights to the song. “They’ve expropriated Majunche, just what we needed,” tweeted bass player Jose Rafael Torres.

“In every case, one must ask for permission to make use of a musical work. In this case, that never happened,” a spokeswoman for the band’s management told Reuters by email.

The group, which plays a Latin blend of jazz, funk and disco, is well-known for its sexually tinged lyrics and sense of humor.

State-owned radio station YVKE Mundial used the Amigos Invisibles tune as a backdrop to one of Chavez’s blustering speeches in which he says, “The loser won’t win elections in Venezuela ... this year, or even in 2,000 years!”

The president has nationalized large parts of the OPEC nation’s economy, from multibillion-dollar oil facilities to parking lots and even a toilet-maker.

He has won a devoted following among much of the country’s poor by channeling oil revenue into health, education and social welfare programs.

YVKE Mundial did not answer calls seeking comment.

Editing by Hugh Bronstein and Peter Cooney

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