A Time for Fireflies

tamoa5This is the text of Laura Weffer’s speech last night on receiving the Cabot Prizes’ special commendation for her investigative reporting alongside Tamoa Calzadilla. I wouldn’t dream of trying to translate it.

La oscuridad se ha apoderado de Venezuela. Hay censura y el Gobierno intenta silenciar las voces disidentes. Pero hay luz también.

En Venezuela hay un lugar que tiene un fenómeno natural llamado Relámpago del Catatumbo. Consiste en miles de luces y destellos sobre un área reducida. Nuestros ancestros creían que ese fulgor estaba formado por millones de luciérnagas que viajaban juntas para mostrarles a los marineros el camino. Eso es lo que debería ser el periodismo. 

Me siento privilegiada y bendecida de estar aquí. 

Gracias a la Universidad de Columbia, a los premios Cabot; gracias a papá y mamá, son lo mejor; a mi amado esposo, Víctor; a mis hijas, Ari y Lele, a mi familia y amigos. Pero sobre todo, gracias a cada venezolano que lucha anónimamente por las libertades de Venezuela, para esas millones de luciérnagas va este premio. Porque como decimos en mi país: la pelea es peleando y no vamos a renunciar.

4 thoughts on “A Time for Fireflies

  1. They now stand at the same height as Ramon J. Velasquez and Arturo Uslar Prieti which also received the award.

    It is also worth mentioning that the recipients of this award have been both victims of political discrimination for pushing to publish the story that brought them the award.


  2. Here’s Google Translate, with a few added refinements:

    “Darkness has taken over Venezuela. There is censorship and the Government tries to silence dissenting voices. But there is also light.

    In Venezuela there is a place that has a natural phenomenon called Catatumbo Lightning. It consists of thousands of lights and sparkles over a small area. Our ancestors believed that the brightness was formed by millions of fireflies traveling together to show the sailors the way. That’s what journalism should be.

    I feel privileged and blessed to be here.

    Thanks to Columbia University, the Cabot Award; Thanks to Mom and Dad, they’re the best; to my beloved husband, Victor; to my daughters, Ari and Lele, to my family and friends. But above all, thanks to each Venezuelan who anonymously struggles for freedom for Venezuela, to those millions of fireflies goes this award. Because as we say in my country: the fight is fighting and we will not give up.”


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