Argentine singer murdered in Guatemala


Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA… Working for human rights in Guatemala since 1982

Argentine resistance singer Facundo Cabral murdered in Guatemala

Facundo Cabral, a singer/ songwriter from Argentina, was one of the leaders
in nonviolent protest music throughout Latin America for over 50 years. Born
in La Plata, Argentina in 1937, Cabral grew up in extreme poverty. As he
learned to play the guitar, sing, and write, he quickly became known as the
voice of the people who could not speak. His dedication to social justice
movements and his response to violent military dictatorships in Latin
America forced him into exile in Mexico following the Argentine coup in
1976, where he continued writing and performing, and gained wide-spread
popularity. In 1996, the United Nations designated Cabral a “worldwide
messenger of peace” for his continued commitment to the people and to
justice and freedom for the powerless in Central and South America.

Cabral and his promoter were on their way to the airport in Guatemala City
early Saturday morning,  July 9, 2011, when they were ambushed by two armed
vehicles. Cabral was shot and killed, while the other man traveling with him
was seriously injured. The pair was coming from a performance in
Quetzaltenango, where he sang in his last concert on Thursday. The official
motives for the attack are still unclear, as several sources speculate that
the music promoter traveling with him may have been the intended target.
However, other activists, such as Rigoberta Menchú, have stated that they
believe that he was assassinated for his beliefs and condemnation of the
violence in the region.

In reaction to the murder, fans throughout Guatemala and around the world
have spoken out for justice and peace. President Álvaro Colom declared three
national days of mourning in remembrance of the artist, and expressed his
deepest sympathies to the president of Argentina as well as to the public.
Fans in Guatemala held a memorial concert, and thousands came to Guatemala
City to honor him.  The reaction has been similar throughout the Western
Hemisphere, where military dictatorships and oppressive governments have
been a part of the consciousness of nearly every country in the past 50
years. Hispanic communities in Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami,
Orlando and Washington DC have expressed like reactions, leading to enormous
responses via Twitter and Facebook, and calls for the murderers to be
brought to justice.

President Colom has stated that a full investigation of the crime is
underway, and that justice will be sought for the perpetrators.
Unfortunately, the murder Facundo Cabral is only one of many violent crimes
in the country, the vast majority of which are committed with total
impunity. The violence in Guatemala, including high rates of femicide, gang
violence and organized crime, and politically-motivated assassinations, has
overwhelmed the already weak and corrupt judicial system.

Cabral spent his life advocating for peace and nonviolence, and his violent
death is an incredible tragedy.  Cabral’s supporters have demanded justice,
and GHRC joins the international community in calling for an exhaustive
investigation, justice for Cabral’s murder, and increased efforts to
decrease crime and violence in Guatemala.

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