MEXICO CITY (AP) – Fernando González, who spent decades covering and directing coverage of important stories for The Associated Press in Latin America, from papal visits to border skirmishes, hurricanes and hostage-taking, died in Havana. He was 60 years old.
González died Monday at his home after suffering a heart attack, said Cuba’s director of forensic medicine.
Sociable and seemingly inexhaustible, he was especially strong and compassionate during crisis situations, both in covering the events and organizing help when his colleagues became ill or injured.
“Fernando represented the best of the AP. He was a terrific journalist and he loved big stories, “said AP Executive Editor Julie Pace. “He was also a personable and caring colleague, someone whose impact was felt in every corner of the organization. He will be greatly missed. “
González, born in Uruguay, graduated from high school in Santiago de Chile and later attended the University of Miami. He worked for a local radio station before moving into news production, often as a freelance reporter for The Associated Press in Latin America.
González joined the AP full-time in 2002 as a senior producer of video coverage in Havana. He moved to Washington in 2014 as a regional video editor for Latin America and the Caribbean before moving to Mexico City as the AP’s deputy news director for Latin America in 2016. González returned to Cuba in 2020 as the Associated Press news director for the Caribbean and Andean regions.
Among the most important stories he covered were the 1996 hostage-taking at the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Peru, the devastating impact of Hurricane Mitch in Central America in 1998, and the 2004 coup that toppled Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
In 2007, González reported from Antarctica the visit of the then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
González also covered three papal visits to Cuba: that of Pope John Paul II, that of Pope Benedict XVI and that of Pope Francis, as well as the historic visit of Barack Obama to Cuba in 2016 and the death of Fidel Castro later that same. anus.
“He was really a very good person, and with great charisma, which allowed him to access places that others would have struggled to enter, a true anecdote, friendly and intelligent,” said Chris Gillette, senior video producer for the AP in Brazil and who was Gonzalez’s schoolmate in high school.
González is survived by his wife Linda, their children María Linda and Nicolás, and three grandchildren, as well as their parents.