Conflicts & War

J Balvin calls for end to ‘civil war’ in Colombia

Bogotá/Miami, May 4 (EFE).- Colombian singer J Balvin on Tuesday denounced the political crisis and violence in his country, which he described as a “civil war,” after protests left at least 19 people dead and some 800 people injured.

“There is now a civil war in Colombia and there are no words to describe what is going on,” he said at a meeting with international journalists to talk about “The Boy from Medellín,” a documentary that follows his preparation for a homecoming concert amidst political turmoil, which will premiere on Friday.

The musician, who has millions of followers on social media and was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of 2020, called for dialog to overcome the violence.

“We would like to see that through love, tolerance and talking we could arrive at something, right? Because hatred generates more hatred,” he said.

He added that the current situation, which has been marked by police brutality and blockades, “saddens him” and has left him “unable to sleep.”

“I haven’t slept thinking about what else I can do to help (…) I used my platforms yesterday at four in the morning. I couldn’t take it anymore and said ‘okay, it’s time to activate it, to tell the world what’s going on’ because it’s very sad,” he said.

On Tuesday morning, the singer posted a message on his Instagram account in which he said that the situation in Colombia was out of control and called for peace and love.

Protests have been taking place in Colombia for almost a week against tax reforms announced by the government of President Ivan Duque.

A total of 19 people have died in the protests, which led to the resignation of former finance minister Alberto Carrasquilla.

“All my colleagues and super stars (artists, sport, etc) please help me and help us spread the message we need to stop this nonsense civil war,” he added in the post.

Soon after, dozens of artists including Justin Bieber, Shakira, Pedro Capó, Luis Fonsi, Nicky Jam, Natti Natasha and actress Gaby Espino, among others, joined his call and that of other Colombians in the entertainment world such as Maluma, Juana Acosta and Juan Pablo Raba.

The director of “The Boy from Medellin,” which was presented at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, is Matthew Heineman, who was nominated for an Oscar for best documentary feature for “Cartel Land” (2015).

“Matthew, actually, gained my trust (…) he reassured me, but it was pretty complicated afterwards because so much intrusion into my private life wasn’t easy,” the Colombian artist said.

He said that there were “certain rules of privacy” that “were completely violated,” although he added that there are “certain directors who are so overcome by passion that they go above everything.”

“The Boy from Medellin” also explores how J Balvin has dealt with anxiety and depression over the years.

“I think (mental illnesses) are ultimately a reality, it is like what is happening with Covid. Mental health illnesses are a pandemic, they are everywhere in the world (…) In the end most of us end up infected,” he said, adding that this “is part of reality” and life. EFE


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