by: John Rodriguez
Recently at Argentina’s National University of La Plata, Puerto Rican band Calle 13 was honored for it successful contributions to popular communication and culture. The band received the Rodolfo Walsh prize which is handed throughout Latin America to musicians, artists. Political leaders, and etc that have made an impact in the world. The ceremony were the award was given was held Friday at the university’s School of Journalism.
After receiving the award, Rene Perez a.k.a. Residente said that receiving the recognition is “a very big honor,” and that “many musicians in Argentina and Latin America deserve as much or more than I do.” Perez received the prize on behalf of his other bands members. “Don’t be afraid. The social networks and a ton of mechanisms now exist for getting the truth out. Like Rodolfo Walsh said, ‘Journalism is either free or it’s a farce,'” said Perez while accepting the prize.
There reason for selecting Calle 13 was due to an effort by the school wanting to “reward popular expression, popular culture, the defense of Latin America and therefore we’re acknowledging Calle 13,” said the school’s dean, Florencia Saintout. Saintout recognizes that Calle 13 is not “just another band: it’s a group that stands up to the powerful with its rhythms and uses alternative communication channels.”
Calle 13’s current award is just one among many, the group has also won a record 19 Latin Grammy awards. It is the groups socio-political outspokenness that attracted the organization to bestow them the award, Calle 13 has been public outspoken about Puerto Rico receiving full independence from the United States which is a minority position on the island.
The Rodolfo Walsh Award was named after the slain Argentine writer whose writings criticized the country’s regime from 1978-1983. Walsh was a journalist and writer who belonged to an armed leftist faction within a Peronist party called, Montoneros. On March 25, 1977, Walsh was killed in Buenos Aires in a shootout with government commandos who ambushed him. Walsh’s death came one day after he published Open Letter directed to the military junta on the first anniversary of the armed forces’ seizing power of the country.