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Artists support Alejandro Sanz after cancellation of his concert in Venezuela

More than 80 performers and other celebrities have signed a statement supporting Grammy-winning Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz after two Venezuelan concerts were canceled because of his criticism of Hugo Chavez, AP reported.

The letter, released on Wednesday, was signed by performers including Shakira, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Penelope Cruz and even soccer star David Beckham. It said the signers "believe in a Latin America where we are all free to express our views."

Venezuelan organizers last week announced that Sanz's concert scheduled for February 14 in Caracas was canceled because it lacked "the appropriate conditions." A November concert also was scrapped when officials withdrew permission to use a government auditorium.

Sanz's criticism of President Hugo Chavez led Venezuelan officials to declare he is not welcome in the country - though ticket sales to fans might indicate otherwise.

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