Fans across Latin America are mourning the death of beloved Argentine folk singer Facundo Cabral, who was shot dead by unidentified gunmen while he was on his way to the airport in Guatemala City on Saturday. He was 74.
Cabral, whose wildly popular songs mixed spirituality with social justice, is best remembered as a voice of protest against military dictatorships in Latin America. The United Nations designated him a “worldwide messenger of peace” in 1996. His protest song “No soy de aqui ni soy de ella” famously declared: “I’m not from here nor there.” (Listen to it here.)
Cabral’s car was riddled by 20 bullets, according to Guatemalan government officials. The intended victim might have been Henry Fariña Fonseca, a concert promoter and nightclub owner from Nicaragua who was also in the car. Fonseca was seriously injured in the shooting.
Monday, Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom announced three days of national mourning for the artist and fans around Latin America expressed their sorrow at Cabral’s death on Twitter.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez tweeted: “Oh what pain! They killed the great troubadour of Las Pampas!”
A literature professor in Venezuela wrote that Cabral would be remembered in every verse sung:
Facundo, acabas de mudarte y hoy te recordamos más. Realmente la única muerte es el olvido. Cabral, naces en cada verso recordado.
A journalist in Chile wrote that when you kill a poet, there are no sensible or sufficient words to say:
A Venezuelan pop artist called Cabral was a “fallen soldier” and quoted Cabral, who was known for his aphorisms, as saying “Blessed is he who does not change the dream of his life for the daily bread”:
"Bienaventurado el que no cambia el sueño de su vida por el pan de cada día." Facundo Cabral, otro soldado caido...
Watch Cabral’s most beloved (and often covered) song, “No soy de aqui ni soy de ella:”
Listen to Cabral sing “Este es un nuevo día,” which means “This is a new day.” Fans passed this song around as a message about how to go forward after Cabral’s death: