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Life Arts

Latest News on and a Tribute to Facundo Cabral

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From an Al Jazeera report:

A large crowd of onlookers quickly gathered at the crime scene, which was next to a fire station a few hundred metres away from the turn-off for the airport. Some shouted angrily as police and army cordoned off a large stretch of the road.

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"We want justice," cried one man.

Rise to stardom

Rising from humble origins, the outspoken Cabral was best known for his 1970 song "No Soy De Aqui, Ni Soy De Alla," (I'm Not From Here, I'm Not From There Either) which was covered by many other artists including Julio Iglesias.

Nearly blind, Cabral rose to fame in the 1970s as a protest singer and went into exile in Mexico during Argentina's 1976-1983 military dictatorship.

His songs later turned more spiritual and he continued to fill concert halls across Latin America.

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Rigoberta Menchu, a leading activist for the rights of indigenous peoples in the country who won a Nobel Peace prize in 1992, said Cabral's murder was just one of many to afflict Guatemala.

"This is a well planned crime," she said. International criminals base themselves in Guatemala because they know they can get away with acts like this," Menchu told reporters at the scene. (FOR THE FULL ARTICLE CLICK HERE)

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Wikipedia reports further on its updated Cabral site with even more details on his death and world reactions in the aftermath of this tragedy:

He had left a hotel in the west of Guatemala City, after giving a show the previous evening in Quetzaltenango, and was headed to the airport when gunmen attacked his vehicle (a white Range Rover), hitting him with at least eight bullets. He died in the car. The incident occurred at around 05.20 (local time) and took place on Liberation Boulevard, a busy road that connects with the airport, but at the time of the attack was practically empty. Cabral initially planned to take a hotel shuttle to the airport, but accepted a ride from Henry Fariña.

Cabral was with his agent David Llanos and concert promoter Henry Fariña, who were wounded. He was accompanied by a second vehicle carrying bodyguards, but they couldn't protect the singer's vehicle from the bullets. Cabral was riding in a SUV that tried to flee the attackers by driving into a fire station. At least 20 bullet holes were seen in the Range Rover car he was in. The gunmen were in three late-model vehicles, one in front of Cabral's car and two to the right and left. One of the attackers' vehicles was later found abandoned on the road to El Salvador. It was a brown Hyundai Santa Fe with bullet holes and containing bullet-proof vests and AK-47 magazine. The Argentine consul in Guatemala, Enrique Vaca Narvaja, confirmed the report of the attack.

The Guatemalan government reported to Argentine authorities that it had been "a planned attack". The president of Guatemala, Álvaro Colom, called Argentine president Cristina Ferna'ndez de Kirchner to express his condolences, also saying there was evidence that it was an ambush. Early investigations indicated the bullets were meant for the driver, Cabral's Nicaraguan promoter Henry Farinas because the trajectory of the bullets were from right to left, toward the driver's seat. Three specialized investigative teams from Guatemala were assigned to the case.

Guatemala's President Alvaro Colom decreed three days of national mourning. Hundreds of Guatemalans sang songs written by the artist in the capital's Plaza de la Constitucion. Some of the signs carried by Guatemalans grieving the death of the beloved singer said ""We say sorry to the world for the assassination of Facundo", "We are here not only for the death of Maestro Cabral, but also for every boy, girl, old man and woman, who becomes, day after day, victim of violence. Not only for Facundo Cabral, but also for the future of our children."

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Argentina's foreign minister, He'ctor Timerman, tweeted "Adios amigo!" [ 4 ] .

Guatemala's 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Rigoberta Menchú, went to the scene of the killing and wept. "For me, Facundo Cabral is a master," she said. "He loved Guatemala greatly." Social networks were filled with expressions of outrage. "I feel an immeasurable shame, a profound anger for my country," said Ronalth Ochaeta, former director of a Catholic Church human rights office Guatemala, on his Facebook account. Rodolfo Ajquejay, President of the Association of Artists in Guatemala, said "this is mourning at a global level because [he] left only positive messages in his songs." This incident "was regrettable" and was "one more manifestation of the violence in Guatemala," said Francisco Dall'Anese, the head of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), an organization created in conjunction with the United Nations. Guatemala's human rights ombudsman, Sergio Morales, expressed his condolences to Argentina."I ask authorities of this country that this crime not be left unsolved, to investigate," he said.

The President of Venezuela expressed his dismay with a short message via the Twitter social network. "Oh what a pain! Killed the great troubadour of Las Pampas Long live Facundo Cabral weep with Argentina and with all our great homeland," wrote Chavez in his Twitter profile.

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