Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mexico pays posthumous tribute to Joaquim Ibarz

Mexico. .- The Spanish journalist Joaquim Ibarz Melet, correspondent of the newspaper La Vanguardia in Mexico, today received a posthumous tribute representatives of journalism, politics and culture of this country in a ceremony held at the Cultural Center of Spain. A month before his death Ibarz (1943-2011), was recalled by the historian Enrique Krauze as "the best witness of contemporary life in Mexico during the past three decades.

Addressing more than 150 people, among which were two brothers and several relatives Ibarz from Spain, Krauze praised the late journalist and said he had been "a passion for truth and freedom." At the same ceremony, the Ambassador of Spain in Mexico, Manuel Prais, reminded him "a reference reporter in Latin America contributed to better explain the realities of the region.

The Mexican sociologist Roger Bartra said Catalan origin it his "insatiable curiosity" since he stepped Mexico in 1982. "With the untimely death of Joaquim have lost a guide to orient in space in Latin America, but, above all, I lost a friend," Bartra said. The tribute was read a letter from the editor of the newspaper La Vanguardia, Jose Antich, in which he praised the journalist recalled that Mexico was the second house Joaquim.

Last Ibarz died March 12 at his home in Zaidín (Huesca) at age 68 because of a brain tumor. A day later, the president of Mexico, Felipe Calderón, deeply regretted the death, which occurred, he said, "a sad day for Hispanic journalism." Ibarz was a defender of democracy and a staunch critic of the populist and authoritarian regimes in Latin America, a region to which he devoted 28 years of his life as a correspondent for the Barcelona daily La Vanguardia.

His career was punctuated by travel and presence as a witness at key moments in the history of the region, as the coup of Alberto Fujimori in Peru (1992), the uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in 1994 Chiapas (southern Mexico), or the deposition of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras (2009).

His critical reporting led him to be the first Spanish man who was expelled from Cuba in 1991. In addition, Ibarz was dean of foreign journalists in Mexico, lived in that country since 1982, as the seat base to meet current political and social development of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Last October, in New York had received its last major journalism award, the Maria Moors Cabot, for his work in the region, making him the first European in 2010 he obtained the prestigious prize, awarded by the School of Journalism Columbia University. In 2009 he was awarded the prize "Cirilo Rodríguez" Journalism, in recognition for his work in the area, where he covered the armed conflicts in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia and Peru and all Latin American Summits, the Sandinista victory in Nicaragua The Central American peace and electoral processes in neighboring countries.

Joaquim Ibarz left a cultural legacy of all Central American cultures that has gained in his travels over the years to make a museum called "The House of You" and will be located in his hometown Zaidín. The project was well advanced and had already moved all the material, more than 2,000 pieces.

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