Richard Branson Organizes Venezuela Live Aid: Carlos Vives, Fonseca, Juanes, Maluma, Lele Pons & More to Perform

Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Billboard
Lele Pons attends Billboard 2018 Latin Power Players at W South Beach on Nov. 1, 2018 in Miami Beach.

Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin brand, announced on Twitter Friday (Feb. 15) that he's organizing a massive concert in Cúcuta, Colombia –at the Colombia-Venezuela border—that seeks to raise humanitarian aid for Venezuela.

The Venezuela Aid Live concert is slated to take place Friday, Feb. 22, and is put together with a coalition of people, including Colombian entrepreneurs Ricardo Leyva and Bruno Ocampo. Although names of performing artists have not been officially announced, management sources confirmed to Billboard that Carlos Vives, Juanes, Luis Fonsi, Lele Pons, Maluma, Fonseca, Rudy Mancuso and Alesso among many others, are confirmed to appear and/or perform. The concert will be live streamed around the world with the goal of raising $100 million in 60 days.

Organizers told Billboard the objective of the concert is not just to raise funds, but also raise global awareness on Venezuela’s dire situation and push for the border to be opened to allow for the passing of humanitarian aid and supplies. Currently, the Nicolás Maduro's regime has shut down the border. Organizers also said the concert will be funded entirely through donations.

In a blog post, Branson said: “I know a thing or two about the music business, and I’m old enough to remember how George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh and Bob Geldof's LiveAid moved the world to action. And so I’ve offered to help organise an international benefit concert, Venezuela Aid Live.

“Working alongside a passionate coalition of partners, we were able to confirm a fantastic line-up of top Latin American and global artists, who are donating their time and their talent to bring worldwide attention to this crisis and raise funds for essential humanitarian aid.”

In the same blog post, Branson said funds raised  “will be held in a secure trust and distributed in coordination with national and international humanitarian aid organisations.”

Despite increased calls for action from the international community at large, massive protests inside Venezuela, and despite the fact that opposition leader Juan Guaidó self-declared himself president, Nicolás Maduro remains in power in Venezuela.


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