Facundo Cabral, one of the most popular folk singers in Latin America, has been shot to death by gunmen in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
The Argentine singer Cabral, 74, was ambushed as he drove in a car with bodyguards from his hotel to the airport in Guatemala City.
Earlier, he performed in the city of Quetzaltenango, 120 miles west of Guatemala City, on Thursday. His next scheduled concert was in Nicaragua, as part of a tour of Central America.
Rolando Robles, a spokesman for Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom, said he was dismayed by this cowardly act.
Colom also told Argentine radio he had phoned Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez, to inform her of the news and said that it seemed to hit her hard.”
No motive for the killing has yet been ascertained – however, Guatemala is plagued by very high murder rates. The president's office stated that police are probing whether or not the shooting was an attempted robbery or if Cabral was specifically targeted.
We will find these criminals and bring them to justice, Colom said.
According to local media, one of the vehicles involved in the attack was later found abandoned in El Salvador.
In 1996, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) declared Cabral was a world messenger of peace. His most well-known song No Soy de Aqui ni Alla (I'm Not From Here or There), has been recorded in many languages.
He first emerged as a protest singer in the 1970s.
Almost blind, Argentina’s military dictatorship forced him into exile in Mexico from 1976-1983.
His wife and child died in a plane crash in 1978.
In an interview with Associated Press: I love life so much because it cost me so much to enjoy it. From the cradle to the grave is a school, so if what we call problems are lessons, we see life differently.
David Llanos, a representative for Cabral, told reporters: I don't know how and why this happened, because Facundo is well-known around the world and I don't see why anyone would be interested in killing him.
Rigoberta Menchu, Guatemalan activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, went to the crime scene of the killing and openly wept.
For me, Facundo Cabral is a master. He loved Guatemala greatly, she told media. This is a well-planned crime. International criminals base themselves in Guatemala because they know they can get away with acts like this.”
Argentina's Foreign Minister Hector Timerman lamented on his Twitter account. The murder of Facundo Cabral in Guatemala brings us great sadness. Adios amigo!