I wanted to keep in mind this principle expressed by José Martí to refer to the life and work of a great Martí follower who died on last March 3, 2023.
This is about Julio Alberto Batista Delgado who stood out, over the years, as a narrator, actor, journalist, scriptwriter and director of radio programs. He defined himself as an eternal lover of radio.
When referring to Julio Batista, beyond his physical disappearance, I will always speak or write in the present time. I am sure that many other colleagues and people who knew him, including simple listeners who enjoyed his fruitful work on Cuban radio, will coincide with me in having the feeling of considering that he is temporarily absent .And this is because Julio left us a work of great magnitude that serves and will serve ,with the passing of time ,as a source of teaching for radio-makers.
Although his writings included historical, cultural, political, current national and international topics, his name is also directly associated with Martí.
Julio was born in Central Chaparra, in Las Tunas, on February 5, 1936. In the 1950s, he made his debut in the fascinating world of radio. Accompanying his family, he moved to Havana and, as he always felt attracted to acting, he enrolled in the Municipal School of Dramatic Art. In 1954 he began to interact with the radio, in the Cuban National Circuit and, as time went by, he made a notable contribution to the development of this mass media in Cuba. His beginnings were as an actor and broadcaster in dramatized spaces, but, shortly after, he found his true vocation in journalism.
Along more than six decades, he worked in several national radio stations, but, in a particular way, his life and work are linked to Radio Progreso, la Onda de la Alegría, where he created and conducted several programs that led him to achieve great popularity.
Julio also gave his contribution to international stations such as Radio Peking, in China, Radio Nacional de Angola and Radio Sandino, in Nicaragua. He also worked for cinema and television. He was among the founders, and the first announcer, of the Latin American ICAIC Newscast, a unique news program created by filmmaker Santiago Álvarez to show the world the truth about Cuba and Latin America and thus stand up against the campaigns that the international news media disseminated to distort the work of the Cuban Revolution. He was conferred multiple awards and recognitions, among them the Distinction for National Culture, the Replica of the Machete of Generalísimo Máximo Gómez, the National Radio and Journalism Awards “José Martí”, and he is one of the three journalists who were distinguished with the title of Labor Hero of the Republic of Cuba. I began to admire Julio Batista long before I met him physically and even before we became co-workers at Radio Progreso.
Despite in 1966 he was already a consecrated journalist with awards and other distinctions, with great modesty he would exchange ideas with me, although I always told him: “You, without knowing it, have been my teacher since the time of your program Cuba in the world. ” So, for his background, for everything he contributed to the development of radio and journalism, for his great love for Cuba, the Revolution, for being very proud of his people, for having given me his friendship, his support, for me , Julio, will always be present. Allow me to affirm in the face of his physical departure that Julio Batista was and will be the father of many of those who have worked, or will work in the future, for the development ,in general, of radio and journalism in Cuba. Once again I turn to José Martí, our National Hero, to conclude what was said about this great Marti follower, Julio Batista Delgado: “…man is the teacher who offers his own being to others, the teacher is a meritorious and generous father of many”. Julio, in my opinion, also complied with this statement by Marti.
Forever on, master!