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Saturday, July 09, 2011

Argentine singer Cabral shot dead

One of Latin America's most famous folk singers, Facundo Cabral, is shot dead in the capital of Guatemala, Guatemala City, officials say.

Cabral, 74, was heading from his hotel to the airport in Guatemala City when he was reportedly ambushed, although the motive is not yet clear.

He had performed in the city of Quetzaltenango, 200km (120 miles) west of Guatemala City, on Thursday.

In 1996, Unesco declared Cabral a "world messenger of peace".

His most famous song was "No Soy de Aqui ni Alla" (I'm Not From Here or There), which was recorded in a number of languages.

Guatemala has one of the highest murder rates in Latin America.

Protest singer

Police said Cabral's vehicle, which was accompanied by another carrying bodyguards, had been hit by a number of rifle bullets and the singer died at the scene.

He was heading to Nicaragua for more concerts.

Rolando Robles, a spokesman for Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom, said the leader was "dismayed by this cowardly act".

The president's office said that police were investigating whether the shooting was an attempted robbery or a targeted attack.

Local media said the vehicle carrying Cabral tried to escape into a fire station. Police said one of the attackers' vehicles was later found abandoned on the road to El Salvador. It had bullet holes and contained spent cartridges.

President Colom told Argentine radio he had called his counterpart, President Cristina Fernandez, to tell her the news and said that it "seemed to hit her hard".

"We will find these criminals and bring them to justice," Mr Colom said. Cabral's bullet-ridden vehicle tried to flee into a fire station

Cabral's representative, David Llanos, 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."

Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman tweeted his "profound sadness" at the news.

Cabral became famous in the early 1970s as a protest singer in Argentina.

His wife and baby daughter died in a plane crash in 1978.

In an interview with Associated Press in 2008, he said: "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."

Video: El humor de Facundo Cabral

Video: El dia que yo me vaya, Facundo Cabral

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