Venezuela: Reggae artist defies government ban on violent images



Reggae artist defies government ban on violent images

Venezuelan authorities are set to launch an investigation into a newly released music video called ‘Rotten Town’ by reggae artist Onechot that depicts the current state of violence in the country.

The video was released at a public event on 17 August 2010, only a few days after Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez had declared a month long ban on media’s use of violent images.

The ban came after the newspaper El Nacional front page had been marred by pictures of homicide victims in a local morgue.

According to El Nacional, Onechot (real name: Juan David Chacón) has tried to ensure the authorities that he had no intension of causing an anti-political statement, but rather to depict the social reality that ordinary people are facing on daily basis.

In the music video, a little boy playing in street is killed by a stray bullet. As the blood starts to drift from his body, the video depicts the blood drift through the streets and social layers of Caracas.

Flyer from the video release

According to Roberto Briceño-León, a sociologist at the Central University of Venezuela, the capital Caracas prides itself with one of the most alarming homicide rate in the Americas, which currently stands at around 200 per 100,000 inhabitants. Neighbouring countries Colombia and Brazil is nowhere close with recent measures of 22.7 per 100,000 people in Bogotá, Colombia and 14 per 100,000 in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city.

According to Global Voices, the director Hernán Jabes explained that the video is meant to spur reflection as a manifest to stop violence when the video was released on 17 August 2010:

“The video has a very strong message that concerns us. The concept lies in the responsibility we all have, not only the Government, but also in how we get educated, how we are as friends, how we are as humans (…) The video supports Onechot’s lyrics… it is a scream of protest”.

Onechot uses various social media channels like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to distribute his music video ‘Rotten Town’. Increased online traffic and growing popularity of the song has attracted the ire of the authorities, that sees it as direct attack on the current government.

The Venezuelan government is now considering to launch an investigation into the release of the video, reported El Nacional.

The frontpage that led to the government ban


Listen and read more about Onechot

Onechot’s profile on Myspace:

Onechot’s official website:


El Nacional – 20 August 2010:

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