Univision recording artist Residente, host of a current series on Fusion, usually has no problem speaking his mind about current events or about the causes and individuals that he supports. However, his recent refusal to criticize the Venezuelan government's human rights record, or even call it a dictatorship, was an exercise in deflection and evasion.
Watch as Residente ducks what is, by any measure, a simple yes-or-no question in an interview with CNN en Español.
MARIA SANTANA, CORRESPONDENT, CNN EN ESPANOL: Do you believe Venezuela is now living in a dictatorship?
RESIDENTE: I don't live there, bro. I can talk to you about Puerto Rico and the United States, which are the two countries that affect me, and I'm living here in the United States, and I know what's going on.
For complete context, here is Residente's full response to that question.
RESIDENTE: I don't live there, bro. I can talk to you about Puerto Rico and the United States, which are the two countries that affect me, and I'm living in the United States, and I know what's going on. In Venezuela, everyone who...like you, like me, like anyone else who comes from the outside, if we allow ourselves to be led by the mainstream media, then let's tell you that: yes, it's a dictatorship, if we allow ourselves...but...you can't just base it on that. I believe that in order to be able to talk about another country, you should - in addition to what the mainstream media says - more so that of the United States, which is going to cover whatever goes on over there negatively, you should live there...buy milk, bread, and eggs, stand in line - there's no milk, bread, or eggs, then you stand in giant lines...you suffer what the people suffer in order to gain a good...I'd love to be able to understand it at that level, but I can't. But it is a super-complicated situation.
Residente would likely have you believe you need to watch TeleSur, mouthpiece of the Latin American left, or Cuba's state-run Granma, in order to gain a proper perspective on the human-rights catastrophe currently unfolding in Venezuela - as if the hundred or so dead and thousands without food or medicine weren't enough.
Of course, Residente's respect for source-vetting and restraint is new and strange. Earlier this year, he had no problem jumping to the defense of fellow Marxist traveler Oscar López Rivera...
RESIDENTE, RECORDING ARTIST: So this guy believed in the independence [of Puerto Rico]. He was in jail because of his beliefs.
RESIDENTE: They didn’t have anything on him, you see? So they just created “seditious conspiracy.” They created that in order to put him in jail, so. And they do that when they can’t find anything.
...or spitting out anti-American tropes for buddy Lin-Manuel Miranda.
RESIDENTE: By land or by water
We jump over walls or float on rafts
We fight like Sandino in Nicaragua
We are like plants that grow without water
Without an American passport
Because half of Gringoland is Mexican land
One has to be a real son of a bitch
We plant the tree and they eat the fruit
We are the ones who cross
We come here to seek the gold they stole from us
We have more tricks than the secret police
We packed our entire house in a suitcase
With a pick, a shovel
And a rake
We built you a castle
What's the hook, mother****er?
Immigrants, we get the job done
Residente, of course, has the absolute right to cape for tyrants and defend terrorists and stump for socialist Bernie Sanders.
The bigger question remains: why does Univision (and its affiliates) - supposed champions of equality and defenders of human rights- continue to give Residente a platform, except that these positions are implicitly the network's own?