Tuesday, April 28, 2009

R.I.P. Sarvelio del Valle

One of my earliest memories of Radio Mambi is hearing the musical introduction to their sports program which was hosted by Sarvelio del Valle. I doubt anyone could miss it, living in Miami among the biggest fans of Baseball, surely all Cubans would anticipate the scores read out by del Valle during lunch.

Sarvelio del Valle was perhaps the happiest man on Radio Mambi. Over the years, listening to del Valle report on the Miami Heat, the Marlins, or boxing history from Cuba, you could aways sense the smile on his face, and the joy provided over the airwaves. Never would his daily program go without a good laugh.

How did he maintain this merriment working inside Radio Mambi, perhaps the most confrontational and controversial radio station in Miami?

He didn't talk about politics.

Whenever a caller to his show would inject some politics into their comments, de Valle would either avoid making a direct response to the subject, or cut the call immediately. But, over the years most callers already knew that his half-hour sports program was not the forum for politics. Therefore, del Valle's sports program was a peaceful island in the sea of Radio Mambi.

Nevertheless, Sarvelio del Valle had great admiration for Armando Perez Roura, the programming director for Radio Mambi, and the leading voice of Cuban exile militancy. In a short Univision profile (which is no longer available) del Valle names Perez Roura as one of his biggest influences. And, in a recent article by Diario las Americas, Perez Roura is named as Sarvelio's guide and someone to whom he owed his life to.

Yesterday, Perez Roura dedicated his daily radio commentary to memories of Sarvelio del Valle. He described de Valle as more than just a brother, but someone who was "quiet, simple and when he had to prove himself, he did." According to Perez Roura, del Valle exhibited a "quiet and effective patriotism."

Rest in Peace, Sarvelio del Valle.

[More from El Nuevo Herald and Diario las Americas. Photo by Univision.]