The letter, released Wednesday, was signed by performers including Shakira, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Penelope Cruz, soccer star David Beckham, and the Latin Grammy music awards organization. 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 sold-out February 14 concert 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.

Sanz closed a Sunday concert in the Dominican Republic by dedicating a song to his Venzuelan fans: “a bunch of people in a country where I cannot go.”