Facundo Cabral

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Facundo Cabral
Image of Agentinian singer Facundo Cabral from the album "Pateando tachos" in 1984
Image of Agentinian singer Facundo Cabral from the album "Pateando tachos" in 1984
Background information
Birth nameRodolfo Enrique Cabral Camiñas
Also known asEl Indio Gasparino
Born(1937-05-22)May 22, 1937
La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina
OriginLa Plata, Argentina
DiedJuly 9, 2011(2011-07-09) (aged 74)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
GenresTroubadour, folklore, folk rock, protest
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, poet
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar, harmonica
Years active1959–2011
LabelsRCA Victor
Signature of Facundo Cabral

Facundo Cabral (born Rodolfo Enrique Cabral Camiñas; May 22, 1937 – July 9, 2011)[1] was an Argentinian singer and songwriter.

He was best known as the composer of "No soy de aquí ni soy de allá"[2] ("I'm not from here and not from there"), "Pobrecito mi Patron" ("My Poor Boss"), and many other compositions. His songs have been covered by multiple Spanish language performers such as Jorge Cafrune, Alberto Cortez, Juan Luis Guerra, and Joan Manuel Serrat. Cabral protested military dictatorships in Latin America through activism and art from the 1970s onward, and his music combined mysticism and spirituality with calls for social justice and equality.[3]

After touring the world, Cabral enjoyed popularity in his home country during the early 1980s, when Argentine radio demanded local content after the Falklands War. He was popular throughout Latin America in his lifetime and still enjoys a sizeable posthumous legacy throughout the continent. For his advocacy for peace through his work, Facundo Cabral was named a UNESCO Messenger of Peace in 1996.[4][5]


Facundo Cabral was born Rodolfo Enrique Cabral Camiñas in the Argentine city of La Plata, one of seven children to an impoverished and illiterate mother. His father abandoned the family shortly before Facundo was born, and they wouldn't meet until Facundo was 46 years old. The young Facundo was mute, unable to talk until the age of nine. He was illiterate until the age of 14. Facundo would later recount leaving his home early at nine years old to find work for himself and for his mother, dedicated to all kinds of tasks. Later in life, Cabral would often cite his mother's reaction to his departure as a child: she told him as he left: "This is the second, and last gift I can give you. The first was to give you life, and the second one, the freedom to live it." He travelled to Mar del Plata and worked at casual jobs. As a young adult, he got a job as a cleaner in a hotel. There, he would often play guitar and sing to pass time or make extra money. The hotel owner saw him with his guitar and gave him the opportunity to sing professionally.

In his early career he went by names such as El Indio Gasparino before settling on Facundo Cabral. He performed in over 165 countries, with his works translated into many languages. Due to his image as a rebel artist and protests against military power, he went into exile from Argentina after the 1976 military, coup and subsequently spent time in Mexico and toured extensively before returning in the early 1980s.

Cabral was married twice. His first wife and their one-year-old daughter were killed in 1978 in the PSA Flight 182 crash near San Diego, California, which devastated him for the rest of his life. His second wife, Silvia Pousa, was married to him for seven months before his death in Guatemala. He was nearly blind and crippled at the time of his death, and had nearly died of bone cancer decades before his death. He often talked of his dedication to traveling, calling himself a "first-class vagabond." He often mentioned that he preferred living a simple lifestyle, eschewing wealth and personal comfort for happiness and spiritual clarity, which were subjects in his work.

He gave his testimony of life to the world in songs, poems and in interviews. One of his noted quotations was, "I always ask God, why did you give me so much? You gave me misery, hunger, happiness, struggle, lights... I saw everything. I know there is cancer, syphilis and spring, and apple fritters."

Religious and political views[edit]

Facundo expressed that his spiritual views were influenced by a variety of figures, including Jesus, Laozi, Zhuang Zhou, Rajneesh, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Gautama Buddha, Schopenhauer, John the Baptist, Francis of Assisi,[6] Gandhi and Mother Teresa.[6][7] He also had admiration for the writings of Jorge Luis Borges (with whom he engaged in philosophical discussions)[6][7] and of Walt Whitman.[7]

He used to describe himself as "violently pacifist", a "first-class homeless person" and a "philosophical anarchist".[6] On his view of anarchism, Cabral said: "I'm an Anarchist, which is worse than a Communist. For that reason I have never voted, I have never got involved in politics because politics divides and I separate myself from all that which divides. No one, no politician is going to change our reality."[8]


Cabral was shot and killed during a tour in Guatemala City while en route to La Aurora International Airport on July 9, 2011.[9]

He had left a hotel in the west of Guatemala City, after giving a concert the previous evening in Quetzaltenango, and was headed to the airport when gunmen attacked his vehicle, a white Range Rover Sport, hitting him with at least eight bullets. He died in the car. The incident occurred at around 05:20 (local time) and took place on Liberation Boulevard, a busy road that connects with the airport, but at the time of the attack was practically empty. Cabral initially planned to take a hotel shuttle to the airport, but accepted a ride from Nicaraguan concert promoter/night club owner Henry Fariña.

Cabral was with his agent David Llanos and Henry Fariña, who were wounded. He was accompanied by a second vehicle carrying bodyguards, but they couldn't protect the singer's vehicle, which tried to flee the attackers by driving into a fire station. At least 20 bullet holes were seen in the Range Rover car he was in. The gunmen were in three late-model vehicles, one in front of Cabral's car and two to the right and left. One of the attackers' vehicles was later found abandoned on the road to El Salvador. It was a brown Hyundai Santa Fe with bullet holes and containing bullet-proof vests and an AK-47 magazine. Early investigations indicated that the trajectory of the bullets were from right to left, toward the driver's seat, indicating that the bullets were meant for the driver, Cabral's Nicaraguan promoter Henry Fariña, possibly because of troubles with organized crime related to drugs. (Fariña was imprisoned for 30 years in 2012 for drug trafficking, organised crime, and money laundering.)[10]

Cabral, at the time of his murder, had been married for seven months to Silvia Pousa, a Venezuelan psychologist who had been his partner for the last ten years. His body was flown to Argentina from Guatemala on July 12, 2011, on a Mexican Air Force jet. His widow, Silvia Pousa, and nephew joined foreign minister Hector Timerman and a small group of Guatemalan and Mexican diplomats on the tarmac in Buenos Aires to receive his remains. One official brought from the plane a guitar and a small bag. Cabral had said that was all he needed for his nearly constant singing tours.

His coffin was displayed for the public in the Ateneo theater, the same Buenos Aires theater where he last performed in his native Argentina. The widow and family of Cabral gave a statement to reporters at the Ateneo theater, which expressed "thanks to the huge amount of media around the world by the respectful coverage" of his death. His body was taken to a cemetery 32 kilometers (20 mi) north of Buenos Aires for cremation at a private ceremony with just family and close friends in attendance.

On March 13, 2012, Colombian authorities announced the arrest of Alejandro Jiménez (a.k.a. El Palidejo), who is believed to have ordered the murder of Fariña as he was taking Cabral to the airport.[11] In 2016 five men, including Jiménez, were sentenced to prison terms of 50 years or more for the murder.[10]


  1. ^ "Singer Facundo Cabral killed in Guatemala". Buenos Aires Herald.
  2. ^ Harris, Craig. "Biography: Facundo Cabral". AMG. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
  3. ^ Shepherd M. "Facundo Cabral.". Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. Chicago IL. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  4. ^ Irizarry, Doris (July 9, 2011), Facundo Cabral, Entertainer and Messenger of Peace, killed in Guatemala, Examiner
  5. ^ "Folk singer Facundo Cabral killed in Guatemalan ambush". The Guardian. Associated Press. July 10, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d Serra, Alfredo (June 27, 2019). "La fatídica noche en que Facundo Cabral murió por una pelea ajena y balas que no eran para él". Infobae (in Spanish). Retrieved January 23, 2024.
  7. ^ a b c Shrago, Luke (July 10, 2011). "Argentine folk singer and peace activist shot dead". France 24. Retrieved January 23, 2024.
  8. ^ Latorre, Diego (August 7, 2023). "¿Algo peor que el comunismo?". El Heraldo de Mexico (in Spanish). Retrieved January 23, 2024.
  9. ^ Asesinaron al cantante Facundo Cabral en un atentado en Guatemala Archived July 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Infobae.com (in Spanish)
  10. ^ a b "RPT-Condenan en Guatemala a cinco hombres por asesinato de compositor argentino Facundo Cabral" [Five men convicted in Guatemala for the murder of Argentine composer Facundo Cabral] (in Spanish). Reuters. April 8, 2016.
  11. ^ Fue capturado en Colombia al presunto autor intelectual del crimen de Facundo Cabral March 13, 2012 (in Spanish)