Mon Laferte's courageous response to a journalist about protests in Chile
If Chile burns, its people go first. After undressing against the violence of the Chilean government at the Grammy Gala, the singer creates controversy in an interview.
"People have to pay for your records, too." The eyes of Colombian journalist Patricia Janiot were calling her, even if she tried to hide it under a serene mask of professionalism. Who was the singer to ask her why she did not prioritize human victims over economic damages? That a burned-out supermarket, that 70 destroyed subway stations, were not comparable to more than 2,500 wounded, tortured or blinded by police bullets?
Since singer Mon Laferte appeared on the Grammy's red carpet with the pain of the month of violence and repression in Chile nailed to her nude chest where we could read: "In Chile, they torture, rape and kill," an image that became viral and that turned Laferte into one of the loudest voices against Sebastián Piñera's violent repression.
Born during Pinochet's dictatorship, the singer shares many Chileans' fears of a neoliberal government that evokes Chile's worst nightmare.
The facts occurred as follows: After the Grammy nude, Janiot interviewed the singer via Skype from Mexico, where Mon lives, to ask her for the protests.
The initial conversation provided financial numbers of the disaster: the numerous economic losses and damage to infrastructure resulting from the protests. But there was no further mention of the more than 2,500 wounded, the sexual abuses committed or the twenty dead in battles with the military whom Piñera sent to the streets to "contain the riots," during this dark month for Chile.
And the singer couldn't forgive her.
"The attention should go to the emotional damage that will remain forever in Chile's memory," she said.
What followed was an increasingly tense conversation in which Janiot focused her attacks on groups that wrecked and burned supermarkets, and challenged the singer to denounce the civil violence. While Mon, perplexed, answered:
"Dear Patricia, I would like to tell you my story briefly:
I lived in absolute and extreme poverty as a child. I was born and grew up in a very poor neighborhood during the dictatorship that established a neoliberal economic model of which we were guinea pigs. And that hasn't changed in 30 years. In Chile people cannot be happy and free. Everything is privatized..."
And she went on:
"I don't approve of any violence, but if you ask me if I have to go burn down a supermarket that has stolen my whole life to demand a basic right, I do it because we're not talking about human lives, but about material goods (...). The state has allowed the people to be robbed, and the people are not going to remain calm until justice is done."
Reactions to the interview didn't take long, and many Twitter users criticized the singer of "Tu falta de querer" for only searching for popularity. There were even those who called her a liar and asked the cancellation of her participation in next year's edition of the music festival of Viña del Mar, where she was born.
There were those who went even further and accused her of using her position as an opinion leader to induce violence.
Attacks on Mon Laferte are frequent, especially since her topless appearance in the Latin Grammys, where her body was reified and even censored on Instagram.