Albor Ruiz, Journalist and Powerful Voice of the Cuban Diaspora, Passes Away
The Cuban columnist, journalist, and poet died last Friday in a Florida hospital at the age of 80.
Hispanic journalism has lost a master wordsmith when Albor Ruiz, a Cuban journalist, and poet, finally said goodbye last Friday at Florida's Homestead Hospital, after weeks of battling pneumonia complications.
As his family told AL DÍA, Ruiz had suffered the consequences of a fall and a hip fracture that would eventually complicate his medical condition.
After more than 17 years of friendship and collaboration, AL DÍA says goodbye to one of the most important voices in Hispanic journalism and an irreplaceable friend.
Born in Cuba in 1940, and raised in front of Varadero beach, Ruiz was a sharp mind from a young age, noted for his tenacity and dedication to study and his avid curiosity.
At the age of 20, and after the arrival of the Castro Revolution, Ruiz decided to leave the island in a boat with two friends, fearing that the rebels would shoot him.
He arrived in Miami in November 1961, where he waited for his brothers with a rented house and the promise of a new life. They would join him one year later.
"When we arrived at the airport, Albor was waiting for us," recalls Enid Ruiz, one of the writer's sisters. "He had rented a little house, where he had everything for us, from the dishes and cutlery, to the towels... everything. He served as our father; he supported us for five years until my parents came.”
After effort and sacrifice, Ruiz received his political science and philosophy training in Florida, but it was in New York City that his voice found its way. He was Editor-in-Chief of El Daily News and Editor-in-Chief of El Diario, before joining the New York Daily News in 1993.
Ruiz became known as an outspoken voice, especially against the perpetrators of injustice against the Hispanic community.
From the political trenches, Ruiz was an advocate for his native island's autonomy, played a key role in organizing the Cuban youth movement behind Areíto magazine, and was a key voice for the '78 Dialogue between Cuba and its emigration.
"I have the great satisfaction, and I say this without leaving anything unsaid, that our group began the process that has made everything else possible," Ruiz told journalist Rachel D. Rojas of the publication On Cuba News in 2016. "We don't talk about that much. Maybe that stage has not been given the right credit, and I don't think it's that important either. That's not the point. I do remember the first time we went to the Cuban diplomatic headquarters, and they looked at us as if we were crazy. But we were opening up a space and gaining a little trust, making them see that what we were saying was real and that we were willing not only to talk but to act accordingly.”
During his last years, Ruiz got in AL DÍA the platform to talk and continue with his mission to remember, from his seniority, the work and the struggle that still lies ahead.
Ruiz also dedicated himself to fostering the Latino journalistic community and did so by serving as regional director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and as a member of the national board. In 2003, he was inducted into the organization's Hall of Fame.
“Albor Ruiz was a trailblazer and a respected veteran journalist in our industry,” said Nora Lòpez, president of NAHJ. “He served as an incredible role model, and there are many in our community who credit their success to his mentorship and wisdom.”
Ruiz leaves a compilation of poems under the title In Case I Die Tomorrow, a legion of young journalists he has inspired, and a myriad of memorable columns, many of which can be read here.
His ashes, as he had requested many years ago, will be scattered on Varadero Beach, returning to the shore that saw him leave when he was only twenty years old