Vanessa Ruiz, 2013 winner
Vanessa Ruiz of TV Martí has been recognized for the integrity and originality with which she covered the Venezuelan elections held October 7, 2012. As President Hugo Chávez fanned the flames of a possible civil war if he lost, Ruiz traveled to Caracas to interview citizens and politicians during the campaign and on Election Day. Because TV Martí is seen as an enemy of Venezuela’s closest ally, Cuba, she placed herself in grave danger by reporting honestly and objectively for audiences in Cuba.
While a very uncertain and dangerous situation developed in Venezuela, Ruiz accompanied politicians to polling places and interviewed dozens of citizens who supported both Chávez and his challenger Henrique Capriles. Without a producer and working with a local cameraman, the intrepid correspondent gained access to several elements of Venezuela society, including its political and business leaders. For several days she filed live reports for TV Martí and Radio Martí and provided regular reports for martinoticias.com. Working in Venezuela is not unlike working in Cuba; there were inherent risks to her personal safety just by being there.
Ruiz’s bravery and commitment to providing honest, objective and balanced reporting helped her to provide Cuban audiences the kind of coverage that local media would never provide.