Central America 11/07/11

Distinguished Argentine ‘trovador’ gunned down in Guatemala; luxurious Trump hotel inaugurated in Panama; Costa Rica defeat Bolivia in group stage of Copa America.

Headlines this week were overrun by the shocking assassination of ‘trovador’ Facundo Cabral in Guatemala, where he had recently given two concerts.

Cabral, 76 was an Argentine singer and song-writer widely celebrated in Latin-America and mostly known for composing his melancholic piece ‘No soy de aquí, ni soi de allá’, which roughly translates to ‘I’m not from here nor there.’

According to officials, Cabral was shot several times in his car by a group of well armed gunmen while driving to an airport to leave for Nicaragua, where he was also scheduled to give performances.

No other casualties were reported, except for a path of destruction laid over a second vehicle driven by Cabral’s bodyguard, which was riddled with 25 bullet holes.

The incident sent shockwaves across the entire region, as both fans and governments wept for the loss of the larger-than-life icon and rose in outrage and protest, condemning his assassination as a ‘cowardly act.’

Nobel Peace laureate Rigoberta Menchu was seen crying at the crime scene (above) overrun by bystanders. ‘Sadly we are outraged by yet another violent crime that is causing terror, fear, and I cannot help thinking that his ideals cost him his life,’ she told reporters.

Secretary General of the Organización de Estados Americanos (Oganization of American States – OEA) José Miguel Insulza hailed Cabral as a victim of ‘irrational criminality.’

‘The rendition that the bullets were not only targeted at him only ignites our indignation further, because they show that today no one is safe from the murdering actions of hired assassins, not even someone whose sole weapons were music and truth’, said Insulza in a statement.

A city of 14 million, Guatemala still holds one of the highest crime rates in Latin-America, its capital Guatemala City registering an average of approximately 55 murders a week in 2010 according to the US Department of State.

Elsewhere this week, a luxurious hotel belonging to housing tycoon Donald Trump, the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower was inaugurated on Wednesday in Panama City.

A US$430m structure destined for leisure and corporate events and with a tower shaped like a sail boat, the hotel reaches 284 meters high, has 70 floors, 369 rooms and 1,672 m² destined for business meetings.

Commenting on the investment, Donald Trump Jr. told Panamá América that never before has Panamá had as much luxury as the one exhibited in his father’s new hotel, which he hopes will draw celebrities, magnates and businessmen to its 47 suites.

This is the first business move from Trump out of his North-American comfort zone, and according to his son Donald Trump Jr. Panama is  ‘the starting point for a major expansion in Latin-America’, which the brand foresees as a great market in the future.

In Copa América, Costa Rica overthrew Bolivia by 0-2 (highlights) on Thursday, the goals scored by Josué Martinez (59’) and recently national-team-debuted Joel Campbell (78’), who was the top scorer of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship.

As a result, Costa Rica has jumped to second (3 points) in the currently Colombia-lead (4 points) Group B, followed by Argentina (2 points) and Bolivia (1 point).

All bets are off for the last and deciding round where Argentina faces Costa Rica and Colombia goes up against Bolivia, as the three top teams contend for a not yet certain place in the quarter-finals.