MADRID – Spanish journalist Joaquim Ibarz Melet, Latin America correspondent for the daily La Vanguardia since 1982, died on Saturday at home in Zaidin, Huesca, of a brain tumor, sources close to his family said. He was 68.
Joaquim Ibarz had been ill for six months and had returned to Spain from Mexico, where he had his permanent residence in the Americas, to receive treatment in Barcelona. He first moved to his family home in Zaidin two months ago, the town where he was born in 1943, his friend and fellow journalist Manuel Campo Vidal said.
During much of his career, Ibarz practiced his profession in the Americas, where in 1982 he was named correspondent in Mexico for Central America and the Caribbean.
Last October in New York he received his most recent journalism award, the Maria Moors Cabot Prize for his work in Latin America, granted by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
In 2009 he took the Cirilo Rodriguez Prize for Journalism, in recognition of his work in the area, where he had covered the armed conflicts in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia and Peru, as well as all the Ibero-American summits, the pacifying of Central America with the Esquipulas Peace Agreement signed in 1987, and the electoral processes of the countries of the region.
In 1993 he won the International Press Center Prize in Madrid for the best Spanish work abroad.
Joaquim Ibarz studied journalism in Navarre and began his professional career with the daily El Noticiero, and in 1970 started working in Barcelona with Tele Expres, a newspaper that sent him to cover the conflict in the Sahara.
He also worked as executive director of the magazine Ser Padres (Being Parents), and assistant director of the weekly Primera Plana (Close-up), for the sports publication Barca (1971), the Zaragoza weekly Andalan (1977-78), and the Valles Expres.
Joaquim Ibarz has left a rich legacy of Central American culture in the form of materials he acquired in his trips over the years, to be housed in a museum that he wanted to call “La Casa de Usted” (Your House) in his hometown of Zaidin.
The project was well underway and he had already moved all the material there, more than 2,000 pieces, and was working on their classification, according to Campo Vidal.