clearn.png
Wednesday January 19th, 2022 9:14PM

Fernando González, AP head of Caribbean news, dies in Cuba

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Fernando González, who spent decades covering and directing major stories for The Associated Press across Latin America, from papal visits to border skirmishes, hurricanes and hostage standoffs, has died in Havana.

González, 60, died at his home early Monday after suffering a heart attack, Cuba's forensic medicine director said.

Gregarious and seemingly inexhaustible, González, known for his trademark long gray ponytail, was especially strong and compassionate in crisis situations, both covering the news and tirelessly organizing help when colleagues were ill or injured.

“Fernando represented the best of AP. He was a terrific journalist and loved the big stories," said AP Executive Editor Julie Pace. "He was also a warm and caring colleague, someone whose impact was felt across all corners of the organization. He will be dearly missed.”

Born in Uruguay, González graduated from high school in Santiago, Chile, and then attended the University of Miami. He worked for a local radio station before eventually moving into news production, often freelancing for The Associated Press in Latin America.

González joined the AP full time in 2002 as senior producer for television news in Havana. He moved to Washington, D.C., in 2014 as regional video editor for Latin America and the Caribbean and then to Mexico City as the AP's deputy news director for the region in 2016. González returned to Cuba in 2020 as news director for the Caribbean and Andes.

Among the major stories he covered were the 1996 hostage siege at the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Peru, Hurricane Mitch’s devastating impact on Central America in 1998, and the 2004 coup that overthrew Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

In 2007 González reported from Antarctica on the visit of U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

González also covered three papal trips to Cuba by St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, as well as President Barack Obama’s historic visit in 2016 and the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro later that year.

Anita Snow, who reopened AP’s Havana bureau in 1999 after a nearly 30-year absence, praised González as “a great journalist,” calling him, "an even better human being: warm, generous and consistently kind.”

“And he probably knew Latin America better than anyone,” said Snow, who worked with González in Cuba and Mexico. She is currently an AP writer in Phoenix.

Chris Gillette, senior video producer for the AP in Brazil and a high school classmate of González, agreed.

“He was a really good people person, and very charming, so he was able to get into places others might find challenging — a true raconteur, amiable and smart,” Gillette said.

Nico Maounis, head of special news events for AP's broadcast services, recalled Gonzalez as the consummate deal broker, gaining the AP access to everyone from presidents and other high officials to the simple man on the street.

“What was he like as a person? He was outgoing, he was cosmopolitan, he was funny, he was a diplomat, he was serious, a comic and a joker. He was everything,” Maounis said.

Longtime AP photographer Enric Marti summed up González's compassion for those less fortunate, noting how he continued to patronize his favorite Mexico City restaurant, Lucille, even during the pandemic when others stayed away, tipping the waiters handsomely.

"He kept going and raised money for the waiters. ... They basically had no tips and no money," said Marti, AP's deputy director of photography/global enterprise. “Whenever I was in town we would meet in Lucille. It was Fernando’s bar.”

González is survived by his wife Lisa, children Maria Linda and Nicolas, and three grandchildren, as well as his parents.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Attorneys make final case to jurors in Ahmaud Arbery's death
Closing arguments are underway in the trial of the three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery last year in Georgia
2:46PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Police: Parade-crash suspect was in a domestic disturbance
Police say the suspect in a deadly Christmas parade crash in suburban Milwaukee was in a domestic disturbance just minutes before he killed five people and injured 48
2:40PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Two Fox contributors quit, citing 'irresponsible' voices
Two Fox News Channel contributors have quit, saying “irresponsible” voices have drowned out the responsible on the network
2:37PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Target to keep stores closed on Thanksgiving for good
Target will no longer open its stores on Thanksgiving Day, making permanent a shift to the unofficial start of the holiday season that was suspended during the pandemic
2:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
Waukesha parade crash driver may have been fleeing a crime
Investigators are looking into whether the SUV driver who plowed through a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee, killing at least five people and injuring more than 40, was fleeing a crime
1:57PM ( 1 hour ago )
Is travel safe during the pandemic this holiday season?
Traveling this holiday season can be safe if you're fully vaccinated for COVID-19
1:20PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Biden to keep Powell as Fed chair, Brainard gets vice chair
President Joe Biden announced he’s nominating Jerome Powell for a second term as Federal Reserve chair, endorsing Powell’s stewardship of the economy through a brutal pandemic recession in which the Fed’s ultra-low rate policies helped bolster confidence and revitalize the job market
11:41AM ( 3 hours ago )
Prosecutor in Ahmaud Arbery case: Arbery was under attack
A prosecutor in the murder trial over Ahmaud Arbery's death is arguing that none of the three white men charged in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery had cause to make a citizen’s arrest when they saw him in their neighborhood
11:08AM ( 3 hours ago )
Island anger: Guadeloupe closes schools after COVID rioting
Schools have closed across the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and the French president has warned of a “very explosive” situation in the overseas department
11:06AM ( 3 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Attorneys make final case to jurors in Ahmaud Arbery's death
Closing arguments are underway in the trial of the three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery last year in Georgia
2:46PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Police: Parade-crash suspect was in a domestic disturbance
Police say the suspect in a deadly Christmas parade crash in suburban Milwaukee was in a domestic disturbance just minutes before he killed five people and injured 48
2:40PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Two Fox contributors quit, citing 'irresponsible' voices
Two Fox News Channel contributors have quit, saying “irresponsible” voices have drowned out the responsible on the network
2:37PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Probe finds 'overwhelming evidence' of misconduct by Cuomo
A legislative investigation has found “overwhelming evidence” that former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo engaged in sexual harassment and ordered state workers to help produce his book during work hours
2:27PM ( 37 minutes ago )
Former Netanyahu aide testifies in ex-PM's corruption trial
A one-time spokesman for Benjamin Netanyahu has taken the stand against him in a corruption trial in Jerusalem
2:22PM ( 42 minutes ago )