The opinion column by Chilean Alberto Mayol entitled “Sometimes you have to listen to the voice of the narco”, a political analyst associated with the left, in which he argues that the invitation to Peso Pluma to participate in the Viña del Mar Festival 2024 should be cancelled, has given rise to a court of hypocrites and conservatives, who have surely never seen or heard Peso Pluma, let alone read the lyrics of his songs, to join in his criticism and petition.

In all times of change, new ways of thinking and new paradigms emerge that threaten the established order, or in other words, threaten those in power. The reaction of these power groups is censorship and/or cancellation. Keeping the subjugated in ignorance is the most common form of domination.

I am reminded of the threat posed by the printing press, in particular to the Catholic Church, which had the “Index Librorum Prohibitorum”, the list of banned books, in force for more than 400 years. It was first published at the request of the Council of Trent by Pope Pius IV in 1564, its last publication was in 1948 and it was suppressed by Pope Paul VI only in 1966. Among the banned authors were: Rene Descartes, Balzac, and Jean-Paul Sartre. There were also specific banned books such as Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.

Today it is not the printing press that threatens, but the media, mainly social networks, and it is not books but songs. It is not the Catholic Church, but the elites, who do not want to recognise that the predominant political and economic system has failed to answer the expectations and dreams of young people, who are increasingly becoming part of a narco-culture that welcomes them, gives them a sense of belonging and social mobility. In private, they recognise that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Today it was Peso Pluma’s turn because in the lyrics of his songs he addresses what is being lived in Mexico and a large part of Latin America. In an attempt to silence him, they first dehumanise him by accusing him of unfounded charges, identifying him with organised crime and that “his songs have been commissioned by specific cartels”; secondly, they discredit him artistically: “the artist is not an artist”, he cannot sing, cannot dance, cannot compose and cannot write; and finally, they put forward the idea that his presence at the Viña del Mar Festival is aimed at making an apology for narco-culture to pressure for its cancellation.

Faced with the criticism and disqualifications of Peso Pluma, I quote Pablo Chill-E, who very directly and assertively said about his songs: “What they turn a blind eye to, I sing about”. For those disconnected with Chile’s youth, either by age or where they live, Pablo Chill-E is a Chilean urban singer, with millions of hits for each of his songs.

Let’s assume that narco-culture is threatening the system and that the best way to confront it is through a paradigm shift in which public policies and private behaviours are committed to the inclusion of children and youth in a society that welcomes, gives opportunities and provides equal justice for all. And not by hypocritically criticising a singer who expresses a latent reality.