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The viral song 'Mi Bebito Fiu Fiu' narrates a salacious presidential scandal in Peru

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A new parody song on TikTok has gone viral, and it tells the story of an alleged presidential love affair in Peru, as Diego Salazar, a Peruvian journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, explains.

DIEGO SALAZAR, BYLINE: In mid-May, a television show broadcasted a few text messages supposedly exchanged by the former president, Martin Vizcarra, who was impeached a couple years ago. And these text messages were supposedly between him and his lover.

SIMON: Martin Vizcarra governed Peru for just two years before he was removed from office over allegations of corruption.

SALAZAR: Although he's still quite popular, he kind of became a bit of a running joke because he has this reputation as a liar.

SIMON: The leaked text between the president and his alleged lover, another politician named Zully Pinchi, gave Peruvians another reason to keep the jokes coming.

SALAZAR: The whole country laugh on them because they were very cheesy.

SIMON: But the jokes took another dimension when a local producer, Tito Silva Music, got creative.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MI BEBITO FIU FIU")

TITO SILVA MUSIC: (Singing in Spanish).

SIMON: He made a parody from a popular Eminem and Dido song. That song is "Mi Bebito Fiu Fiu." Mi bebito means my baby and fiu fiu, well...

SALAZAR: When she sent him a picture, he whistled back, you know, typing, fiu fiu, like a whistle - you know, like in the old times, whistle at a beautiful woman in the street.

SIMON: The song is written from the perspective of the lover, and it borrows lines from Zully Pinchi's texts and poems that she had published online, including...

SALAZAR: Probably the most famous line in the song, which is pionono de vitrina. A pionono is a - sort of a sweet roll.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MI BEBITO FIU FIU")

TITO SILVA MUSIC: (Singing in Spanish).

SIMON: In the song, the president is described as a Swiss roll. The singer asks her lover to roll and sweeten her with powdered sugar.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MI BEBITO FIU FIU")

TITO SILVA MUSIC: (Singing in Spanish).

SIMON: Vizcarra's voice also is featured in the song, denying the affair.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MI BEBITO FIU FIU")

TITO SILVA MUSIC: (Speaking Spanish).

SALAZAR: Of course, he's married, and he has kids, and he always portrays his family life as perfect and everything else. So when this scandal appear on TV, he became a laughingstock.

SIMON: The song became an instant hit, first on Peruvian social media, then across Latin American TikTok and beyond, racked up nearly 2 million streams on Spotify. So listeners were shocked when the song disappeared from Spotify in early July. Tito Silva, who created the song, said there were no copyright issues, but he decided to remove the song to avoid any political trouble or reprisals. But the two political figures at the center of the songs, Zully Pinchi and Martin Vizcarra, have begun to embrace it.

SALAZAR: She's been making the rounds in TV, and she also asked Tito Silva for some money.

SIMON: And even though Vizcarra still denies the affair, he's thanked Tito Silva and his followers for the song.

SALAZAR: In recent days, Peruvian social media is being filled with videos of people running into him on the street and singing the song with him.

SIMON: Diego Salazar says that says a lot about politics in Peru, which has had five presidents in the past four years.

SALAZAR: We all know our political scene is a joke.

SIMON: And there's really only one good response to a joke - to laugh.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MI BEBITO FIU FIU")

TITO SILVA MUSIC: (Singing in Spanish). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.
Isabella Gomez Sarmiento is a production assistant with Weekend Edition.