Calle 13 Recognized by Argentina’s National University of La Plata

Calle 13 picked up a record nine awards at last year’s Latin Grammy Awards, including song and record of the year awards for “Latinoamerica,” a tune that celebrates la cultura latina. And, now the Puerto Rican urban act has been recognized for their global influence.

The hip-hop duo, comprised of step brothers Eduardo Cabra and Rene Perez, has been honored by Argentina’s National University of La Plata for its contributions to popular communication and culture.

Calle 13

“It’s a very big honor” to receive the Rodolfo Walsh prize, which “many musicians in Argentina and Latin America deserve as much or more than I do,” said  Perez, a.k.a. Residente, after receiving the award Friday in a ceremony at the university’s School of Journalism.

The 34-year-old Perez, who said he feels like an “Argentine at heart,” received the prize.

“Don’t be afraid. The social networks and a ton of mechanisms now exist for getting the truth out. Like (slain writer) Rodolfo Walsh said: ‘Journalism is either free or it’s a farce,’” the artist said at the ceremony.

“We reward popular expression, popular culture, the defense of Latin America and therefore we’re acknowledging Calle 13, which is not just another band: it’s a group that stands up to the powerful with its rhythms and uses alternative communication channels,” the school’s dean Florencia Saintout said.

The band, which has won a record 19 Latin Grammy awards, is known for its outspokenness on socio-political issues and favors Puerto Rico’s full independence from the United States, a minority position on the Caribbean island.

Rodolfo Walsh was an Argentine writer, leading critic of the country’s 1976-1983 military regime and one-time militant who died on March 25, 1977, in a shootout with government commandos who ambushed him on a street in Buenos Aires, one day after publishing his bitter “Open Letter” to the military junta on the first anniversary of the armed forces’ seizing power.

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