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Masetti: Journalism and Struggle

Buenos Aires, May 31 (Prensa Latina) The history of Cuba and Argentina is intertwined by innumerable events and personalities, among which stands out Jorge Ricardo Masetti, the chronicler, guerrilla fighter and founder of the Latin American News Agency Prensa Latina, who would be celebrating his 94th birthday on Wednesday.

Comandante Segundo was born in 1929 in the city of Avellaneda, in Buenos Aires province, and died in Salta in 1964, but not before leaving a deep imprint on Argentina, Cuba and Latin America.

His father was a municipal employee and his mother, a worker in a match factory. (…) He was a restless soul, prone to the mystical, preferably self-taught. At the age of 15, he discovered journalism as an adventure and, although he did not know it, as a destiny, researcher Maria Seoane wrote in her book “Che, Masetti, Walsh, Prensa Latina”.

Writer and teacher Hernan Vaca, in turn, assured that due to his professional career, his work and the results of his communication praxis, Masetti should hold a privileged place in the historiography of political communication in the region.

He was a war chronicler who became the protagonist of a Revolution that marked the history of the continent with blood and fire. He stood out for his condition as founder of the only international news agency in Latin America that competed on its own ground with the big information monopolies, Vaca pointed out.

In recent statements to Prensa Latina, Masetti’s grandson, Santiago, recalled that he learned from family stories about his work and his dimension as a revolutionary militant, his facet as a tango singer, soccer enthusiast, fan and former goalkeeper in Racing’s youth teams, a club established in a neighborhood that at that time was made up of workers from the manufacturing sector and union organizations.

For Santiago, reading “Los que luchan y los que lloran” and learning about Jorge Ricardo’s work in Cuba were fundamental moments that marked him forever.

In 1958, his grandfather became the first Argentinean to arrive in the Sierra Maestra mountain range and interview Ernesto Guevara (1928-1967) and Fidel Castro (1926-2016) as a special envoy from Radio El Mundo.

From then on, his life was linked to Cuba and a year later, after the rebels’ triumph, he summoned Rodolfo Walsh (1927-1977) to create, together with Che, a news agency at the service of truth, of which he would be its first director.

Thus, on June 16, 1959, Prensa Latina was founded as a communication project of international scope with an alternative vision of the region’s reality. What most strikes me about my grandfather, said Santiago, is that he somehow became an important actor in 20th-century Latin American politics, and joined the Cuban Revolution.

In addition, along with Che and Fidel, he founded a news agency, a watershed in the history of regional journalism, and was part of a political project in Argentina and in the continent by leading the People’s Guerrilla Army in Salta, he affirmed.

For Santiago, Masetti’s teachings as a journalist are summarized in the concept formulated at the inauguration of Prensa Latina, “We are objective, but not impartial. We consider it cowardly to be impartial between good and evil.”