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Official: Argentine singer shot dead likely not target of attack

From Patzy Vasquez, For CNN
Police stand near roses laid at the scene of Saturday's shooting of Argentine folk singer Facundo Cabral in Guatemala City.
Police stand near roses laid at the scene of Saturday's shooting of Argentine folk singer Facundo Cabral in Guatemala City.
  • Shots were directed at the singer's driver, an official says
  • The driver, a Nicaraguan businessman, was wounded
  • Argentine folk singer Facundo Cabral was killed Saturday during the same attack
  • Gunmen descended on their SUV as the men made their way to the airport
  • Entertainment
  • Shootings
  • Music

Guatemala City, Guatemala (CNN) -- Gunmen who shot dead Facundo Cabral likely did not have the Argentine folk singer as their intended target, said Guatemalan Interior Minister Carlos Menocal.

Cabral, one of Latin America's best-known folk singers, was killed Saturday on his way to the airport in Guatemala City.

In the car with Cabral was a Nicaraguan businessman, Henry Farina, who was driving, said Menocal.

"Everything points to that the attack was directed at him (Farina), and not the artist," he said. Still, a motive for the shooting remained unclear.

Farina was wounded, but survived the attack. Cabral died, becoming the latest victim in a wave of violence that has rocked the nation ahead of elections.

Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom declared three days of national mourning in honor of the singer.

In Guatemala on a Latin American tour, Cabral, 74, left his hotel early Saturday morning in a white SUV for an eight-minute ride to the airport.

Gunmen attacked the SUV -- at least 20 bullet holes could be seen on the Range Rover. Nothing was reported stolen from the vehicle, government spokesman Ronaldo Robles said Saturday.

Police found a brown Hyundai Santa Fe nearby containing bullet-proof vests and AK-47 magazines.

Robles and other authorities have said an investigation was underway.

"You can't blame New Yorkers for the death of John Lennon. Just like you can't blame Guatemalans for the death of Facundo Cabral," said Ernesto Justo Lopez, the Argentine ambassador to Guatemala.

Ironically, Cabral, who said he was inspired by Jesus Christ and Mohandas Gandhi, was recognized in 1996 by the Organization of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as a "World Peace Messenger."

Cabral gained fame as a protest singer. His song, "No Soy De Aqui, Ni Soy De Alla" ("I'm Not From Here Nor There") was recorded in nine languages by stars including Julio Iglesias and Neil Diamond.