June 25, 2021

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Veteran journalist Luis Varela dies

Veteran journalist Luis Rigoberto Varela Solar, who had a career of more than 50 years in that profession in Puerto Rico, died on Tuesday at the age of 82.

The Twitter account of the Puerto Rican Volleyball Federation (FPV) ) announced his death.

"Puerto Rican sport mourns the death of veteran journalist, Luis R. Varela. The #FPV and its president, Dr. César Trabanco, join the Varela family's grief at the departure of the journalist and friend Luis "reads the tweet.

The Puerto Rican Baseball Federation also mourns the death from the sports reporter

“Puerto Rican sport is in mourning with the death of Luis Varela, who earned the love and respect of the Puerto Rico Baseball Federation. For more than five decades he dedicated his spaces on the radio and in the written press to highlight the exploits of the players and our franchises ”, expressed Dr. José Quiles Rosas, president of the Federation. Quiles Rosas recalled that it was Varela Solar who popularized the phrase ‘Sunday ball’ to describe the national tournament of the Puerto Rico Baseball Federation. In 2018, the Double A season was dedicated to him.

Varela, born in the town of Colón, in the province of Matanzas, Cuba, forged his journalistic career in Puerto Rico after his arrival on the island at age 19. It is considered a mainstay in sports journalism, with coverage in the Central American and Caribbean Games, the Pan American Games and the Olympic Games (five in total). He maintained a program (“Trinchera Deportiva”) on the Catholic Radio station (WPUC FM) for decades, retiring in 2017.

In the research field, Varela stood out for his writings on what happened at Cerro Maravilla, being the first journalist in reporting the killings of the independence activists Carlos Soto Arriví and Arnaldo Darío Rosado at the hands of the Police in 1978.

"(In 1978) I had a sports program at WPAB at noon, and Julio Ortiz Molina (the driver of a public car that was kidnapped in San Juan by the undercover agent Alejandro González Malavé, who was traveling with Carlos Soto Arriví and Arnaldo Darío Rosado) he loved the program because it was the golden age of ball in Ponce, and he was crazy about him baseball Julio was grateful to those boys (Soto Arriví and Darío Rosado) because, as soon as the policemen who were waiting came out (to ambush them at Cerro Maravilla in Villalba), they said: “The driver is i innocent! It has nothing to do with it! We kidnapped him! ” Turns out, Julio's daughter's husband was the head of sales for WPAB, and he said, "Look, I want to speak to Varela because he is a serious reporter who dares to get the truth out." I went to Julio's house, and I didn't know him. I have never seen him in my life. And I said to him: " Don Julio, I interviewed you, but you have to let me record this (the interview)." And he said to me: "There is no problem", and then it was that he said that when he left there, the boys (Soto Arriví and Dario Rosado) were alive. That there was only one bleeding lightly from the side. When the event happened, I went to the communications room of the Police headquarters and took the Police report, and it said the same thing, that they had taken some boys, but they were alive. I sent that news, and that's when the mess started. The version of the Government, even at that time, was another, that they had died in a shooting. But they were unarmed. They had some wicks without dynamite. And I was the one who got that news (about what happened in Maravilla), "recalled Varela in 2017 in an interview with El Nuevo Día.

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