Facundo Cabral RIP 1937-2011

“Oh what pain! They have killed the great troubadour of the Pampas.” – Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela.

“Facundo Cabral will be immortalised with his songs.” – Rafael Correa, president of Ecuador

Argentine singer and novelist Facundo Cabral, who sang against the Latin American dictatorships of the 70s and 80s, was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Guatemala on Saturday. Guatemalan Indian leader Rigoberta Menchú responded, “I can’t help but think he was assassinated for his ideals,” though the real target appears to have been the Nicaraguan concert promoter who was in the car with him at the time. Perhaps Menchú just wanted this man he admired to have died heroically for his principles rather than because he was in the wrong car at the wrong time.

Cabral wrote literary, spiritually inclined songs, some of which harboured political messages. He fled Argentina when the generals seized power in 1976, not returning home from exile until 1984. He remained popular for the rest of his life. The New York Times quoted one of his favourite aphorisms: “Never allow yourself to be confused by a handful of killers, because good predominates… A bomb makes more noise than a caress, but for each bomb that destroys, there are millions of caresses that nourish life.”