Folk singer Facundo Cabral killed in Guatemala
Gunmen with rifles shot and killed one of Latin America’s most famous folk singers, Facundo Cabral, on Saturday, causing outrage and grief across the region.
The Argentine singer and novelist was on his way to Guatemala’s main airport when gunmen attacked his vehicle, hitting him with at least eight bullets, said city fire department spokesman Jose Rodriguez. He said Cabral’s concert promoter Henry Farina also was wounded. The motive was not clear.
Cabral rose to fame in the early 1970s, one of a generation of singers who mixed political protest with literary lyrics and created deep bonds with an audience struggling through an era of revolution and repression across Latin America.
Some evidence suggested that the killing was not a simple robbery. Cabral was riding in a truck that tried to flee the attackers by driving into a fire station. He was accompanied by a second vehicle carrying bodyguards, according to Guatemalan television station Notisiete.
Police spokesman Donald Gonzalez said agents apparently found one of the vehicles used in the attack, abandoned along the highway to El Salvador. It said it was pocked with bullet holes and spent cartridges were found inside.
Cabral was a confirmed vagabond, born poor in 1937 in the provincial city of La Plata after his father abandoned their large family. At the age of 9, he began hitchhiking alone up the length of Argentina to beg for a job for his mother.
He did odd jobs and was illiterate until he got some education in a reformatory as a teenager. He eventually picked up a guitar, singing in the manner of his idol, Argentine folklorist Atahualpa Yupanqui.
Cabral began singing for tourists in the beach resort of Mar del Plata, and by 1970 became internationally known through his song “No soy de aqui ni alla” — “I’m Not From Here or There — which was recorded hundreds of times in many languages.