PANAMA CITY -- Well-known Panamanian writer and journalist Mario Augusto Rodriguez Velez has died of heart trouble in a capital hospital, the Panamanian Writers Association said Sunday. He was 92.
Born in Santiago de Veraguas in 1917, he was the oldest active Panamanian writer, according to author Jose Luis Rodriguez Pitti, Rodriguez Velez's nephew and the head of the Panamanian Writers Association.
He graduated in 1951 from the Universidad de Panama, where he studied Spanish language and literature, and in 1957 from Ecuador's Universidad Central de Quito, where he studied journalism, and he continued his education at the Instituto de Cultura Hispanica in Madrid, where he graduated in 1958.
On July 31, 2008, he was awarded the Order of Omar Torrijos Herrera, Great Cross grade, from the hands of Panamanian President Martin Torrijos in recognition of his support for communications, and for Panamanian culture and history.
A journalist, storyteller, poet, dramatist and essayist, Rodriguez Velez in his long career was the head of many printed communications media.
From 1932 to 1989 he was a correspondent, editor, columnist, editorial writer, chief editor, assistant director and director of the weekly Mundo Grafico, the dailies La Hora, Prensa Libre, El Dia, El Panama America, Prensa, Matutino and La Republica, as well as of the local magazines Preludios, Urraca, Siete, Educacion, Loteria, Mas and Semana.
He was the author of the story collections "Campo adentro" (1947), "Luna en Veraguas" (1948) and "Los Ultrajados" (1994), the novel "Negra pesadilla roja" (1994), the essay "Estudio y presentacion de los cuentos de Ricardo Miro" (1956) and the theater works "Pasion campesina" (1947) and "El dios de la justicia" (1955).
The funeral for Rodriguez Velez, who died on Saturday, will be held on Wednesday at the Basilica Menor de Don Bosco, in Panama City's Calidonia district. EFE