Associated Press Caribbean News head Fernando Gonzalez dies in Cuba

Fernando Gonzalez, head of the Associated Press’s Caribbean News, dies in Havana

Mexico City-Fernando González spent decades reporting and directing major Latin American stories for the Associated Press, from the Pope’s visit to border skirmishes, hurricanes and hostage confrontations, and his death in Havana.

The Cuban forensic director said that González, 60, died at home on Monday morning after a heart attack.

Known for his iconic long gray ponytail, Gonzalez likes to be gregarious and seemingly inexhaustible. He is especially strong and compassionate in crisis situations, able to report the news and not know when a colleague is sick or injured. Organize help wearily.

“Fernando represents the best of the Associated Press. He is an amazing reporter who likes big news,” said Julie Pace, executive editor of the Associated Press. “He is also an enthusiastic and caring colleague who has had an impact on every corner of the organization. He will be deeply missed.”

Gonzalez was born in Uruguay, graduated from high school in Santiago, Chile, and then studied at the University of Miami. Before finally entering news production, he worked for a local radio station and often worked as a freelancer for the Associated Press in Latin America.

Gonzalez joined the Associated Press full-time in 2002 as a senior producer of Havana TV News. He moved to Washington, DC in 2014 as a regional video editor for Latin America and the Caribbean, and then moved to Mexico City in 2016 as the Associated Press’s deputy news director for the region. González returns to Cuba in 2020 to serve as Director of News for the Caribbean and the Andes.

The main stories he reported included the hostages of the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Peru in 1996, the devastating impact of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 on Central America, and the 2004 coup that overthrew Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

In 2007, Gonzalez reported on the visit of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon from Antarctica.

Gonzalez also reported on the three Popes’ visits to Cuba by Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Francis, as well as President Barack Obama’s historic visit in 2016 and before Cuba later that year. The death of President Fidel Castro.

Anita Snow reopened the Associated Press Havana bureau in 1999 after being absent for nearly 30 years, praising Gonzalez as “a great reporter” and calling him “a better man: Enthusiasm, generosity and consistency.”

“He probably knows Latin America better than anyone,” said Snow, who has worked with Gonzalez in Cuba and Mexico. She is currently an Associated Press writer in Phoenix.

Chris Gillette, a senior video producer at the Associated Press in Brazil and a Gonzalez high school classmate, agreed.

“He is a good person, very charming, so he can get into places that others might find challenging-a true storyteller, kind and smart,” Gillette said.

The Associated Press Broadcasting Service’s special news event director Nico Maunis recalled that Gonzalez was a perfect trading broker. He gave the Associated Press access to people from the Cuban president and other senior officials to ordinary people on the street. everyone.

“What is he like as a person? He is outgoing, he is international, he is funny, he is a diplomat, he is serious, a comedian and a clown. He is everything,” Maunis said.

Gonzalez left behind his wife Lisa, children Maria Linda and Nicholas, three grandchildren and his parents.

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