Miami, Florida—The winner of the third annual Carlos Alberto Montaner Young Journalism Prize was announced on Wednesday, November 8, during the annual board meetings of the Business Advisory Council of the Fundación Internacional para la Libertad (FIL), in Miami, Florida.
The prize was awarded to Mexican journalist Otoniel Martínez, for "Duele respirar," a meticulous and courageous television report on the atrocious realities that Nicaragua is currently experiencing under the brutal regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosa Murillo.
The prize was renamed this year in honor of the distinguished Cuban journalist, essayist, thinker, and president of the jury of the award's first two editions, Carlos Alberto Montaner, who passed away on June 30, 2023.
The Carlos Alberto Montaner Young Journalism Prize was inaugurated in 2021. It aspires to recognize and encourage the work of new journalists in the Hispanic American region, who, through special reports, editorials and stories for television, radio and written press, promote the ideas of liberty. It is endowed with a prize of US$10,000.
A native of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, in the state of Chiapas, Otoniel Martínez developed his career at TV Azteca Chiapas, where he stood out for his talent and professionalism. In 2012 he joined Fuerza Informativa Azteca (FIA) in Mexico City. His work hasfocused on social issues, such as the complex immigration phenomenon in Mexico's southern border.
According to Martínez himself, Duele respirar (“it hurts to breathe”) was a “before and after” in his life. To undertake this special report, he and his team were forced to evade the strict security mechanisms of the Ortega dictatorship and thereby show us a Nicaragua without censorship—as reflected through the voices of its people, its social festivities and its complex political process. It is a vivid testimony of the oppression, cruelty, and hardship in Ortega’s authoritarianism; and, at the same time, a plea for freedom and democracy.
This year's jury was comprised of six members: Gina Montaner (as interim chair), the Chilean writer Roberto Ampuero, Rocío Guijarro of Cedice-Venezuela, Uruguayan journalist Martín Aguirre (editor of Mirada Sur), Raúl Tola (in representation of Cátedra Vargas Llosa) and Roberto Salinas-León (in representation of Atlas Network).
Out of more that seventy entries, only five works made the final cut for evaluation. The jury decided to recognize "El violento retorno del duelo en Ayacucho" with an honorable mention. The editorial was published by the Peruvian journalist Alba Rivas on the website Ojo Público.
Álvaro Vargas Llosa, coordinator of the FIL's Business Advisory Council, and Brad Lips, executive director of Atlas Network, stated that, with this initiative, both institutions seek "to recognize all varieties of journalism as a type of independent culture. This award aims to encourage new generations to explore, with rigor and imagination, the narratives and stories that best exemplify the values of liberty."