My dad's passion is undoubtedly radio. He started at a very early age accompanying my grandfather, fellow broadcaster and journalist, Rafael Velázquez Hurtado at @Radio Jardín Boconó 1460 AM, transcribing the information they received from international news agencies and writing the newscast that was broadcasted on the station. Boconó, for those who do not know, is a small town located in the Venezuelan Andes.
At only 14 years of age, and next to my grandfather as director, my father was administrator of the weekly newspaper “La Tribuna” (1966) and later of the fortnightly newspaper “El Boconés”. That was my dad's disposition at that age, he had the ability to carry out such a responsibility and my grandfather knew it.
Months before turning 18, he received the Broadcaster Certificate which embarked him on an international career that led him to be known as “Hector Velazquez-Mejia, the voice of the tune” or in Spanish, Hector Velazquez-Mejia, la voz de la sintonia. He is also a radio amateur, and the acronym that distinguishes him internationally is W6-YV-3-DLQ.
In 1972, he married my mother, Virginia, whom he met in his hometown. In 1974, as he describes in his autobiography (1994), “two nice things happened in my life, … my first daughter was born, and I received my university degree.” He later adds, “My daughter really brightened my life and that of my wife.”
In Mérida, my hometown, he worked at Radio Universidad while studying Public Accounting at the Universidad de Los Andes-Venezuela. He obtained two degrees: A Bachelor in Public Accountant and a Bachelor of Business Administration. Later, he was a professor at the School of Administration of the Faculty of Administration and Economic Sciences at Universidad de Los Andes. He taught Costs I and II, and Financial Administration, among others.
Thanks to a scholarship he received from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), he studied for a master's degree at the University of Maryland and English at the University of Colorado in Denver and at Georgetown University in Maryland. He earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA).
Returning to the radio, his voice also sounded on Radio Cumbre under the direction of Omar Dávila Araque +. On several occasions, he broadcasted La Vuelta al Táchira and some soccer matches from the “Guillermo Soto Rosa” Stadium, in Mérida, Venezuela. He recorded commercials that were broadcasted on Radio Los Andes 1040 AM and on Éxitos 1560 AM. He was, for a brief period, director of the Televisora Andina de Mérida (TAM). Furthermore, he translated into Spanish and at the request of Father Hugo Anzil +, the user's manual of the first study camera that the television station bought.
Voice of America-VOA received him in 1984. “Half an hour with the world”, “Good night America” and “Good morning America”, “Scientific Capsule” were witnesses to the long hours that my father dedicated to his beloved profession. The announcers and producers who shared studios and microphones with him, today admire my dad's professionalism, ethics, and love for the radio. They define him as a “journalist with many skills,” Manuela Pinto da Silva expresses in an email.
CNN en Español opened its doors to him as a news editor, copy editor, and anchor of the “Ahora” segment. As a CNN correspondent, he broadcasted from Los Angeles, the Michael Jackson trial, various Oscars and Emmy Awards, among many other news events.
His journalistic career led him to live in Washington DC, California, Atlanta, and New York. For his distinguished career, he received multiple awards and recognitions such as the Peabody Award in 2005, the Alfred I. Dupont Columbia University Awards in the same year, and the Superior Honor Award from the Voice of America Broadcasting Office, among others. He covered news events in Alaska, Florida, and Mar del Plata (Argentina), among other very interesting places.
In the city of Los Angeles, he worked in the public school system as a translator and interpreter. He served the same role in the New York City Department of Education in the Interpretation and Translation Unit, where he spent nearly 15 years with wonderful people.
He accompanied me in all my radio and journalistic projects. Likewise, he was the voice of my first communication and marketing radio and TV campaign: “Give meaning to your life, be a priest.” He dedicated long hours of his time to Un café en la Mañana, an informative magazine that I produced and was transmitted by La Romántica 88.7 FM. He was in New York with the production of Panorama Internacional and later La Crónica. Back together in New York, he continued to support me, albeit reluctantly. He was and is a moral, civic, and ethical example for me, my children, and my husband.
He coined among us the motto “Together as a family” which he expressed with great emotion every time we celebrated something, when we went to Mass or when we simply ate together.
No one is perfect, and he knew it. His character was strong, with a short fuse if you will, a bit of a perfectionist, and he didn't understand humor very well. That is why he used to say, “copy what is good about me and not what is bad”, a phrase that I heard from him all my life. Even if we try to copy him, it is very difficult to reach his human height, his work capacity, his professional ethics, and his openness to forgive.
My father's legacy is honesty, integrity, a job well done, sincerity, goodness, and no evil, and that is how they perceived it in others.
“Copy the good of me and not the bad”, is a phrase that I heard him say to us all my life. However, even if we try to copy him, it is very difficult to reach his human height, his capacity for work, and his breadth to forgive.
Daddy, you have to tell me what it is like over there and what I must do to be with you again! Blessing.