Delia Fiallo, the mother of the Latin American soap opera, dies



The Cuban writer and screenwriter Delia Fiallo, author of many highly successful radio and soap operas in Latin America, died in Coral Gables, the city near Miami-Dade where she lived, at the age of 96, her family reported Tuesday.

“She died in peace and surrounded by her loved ones,” announced on the Televisa channel one of the children of the soap opera author as ‘The Privilege of Loving’ and ‘Esmeralda’. Televisa did not give more details about the death of Fiallo, who would have turned 97 on July 4.

In an interview with Efe in 2018, Fiallo said that the telenovela genre, of which she was a precursor in Cuba and Venezuela, was “destroyed” by the fact that the scriptwriters now emphasize action, violence and drug trafficking, “Forgetting about feelings.”

In 2018 she was dedicated to the task of transforming the scripts of her popular soap operas into books, such as ‘Leonela’ and ‘Cristal’. The first book to be published was ‘Kassandra’.

Fiallo, who received a tribute in Miami that year from the Cuban Cultural Heritage organization, said that the producers “do not realize or do not want to see that they are producing for a minority that likes violence, morbidity.”

The author recalled the times when she had to write 35 daily pages of the soap opera on duty. «They spent many years dedicated to that task, writing a daily chapter by myself, with the soap opera on the air. I couldn’t get sick, I couldn’t rest; sometimes I would finish a novel today and start with another the next day, ”he recalled.

Fiallo studied Philosophy and Letters in Havana and began writing radio soap operas in the Cuban capital in 1949. In 1966 He left with his family from Cuba to Miami, which was his base of operations in the years that he worked as a soap opera scriptwriter for channels in Venezuela and also in Mexico.

The first of his soap operas outside of Cuba was ‘Lucecita’, which aired in 1967, and ‘Cristal’, aired in 1985 and 1986, the last original story he wrote. In Spain ‘Cristal’ premiered in 1990 and was a success with the audience.

It was in Venezuela, which did not tread again since in 1998 Hugo Chávez was elected president, where he wrote some of his most famous melodramas, among them ‘Leonela’, ‘La hedera’ ‘Esmeralda’, his first production in that country, and the aforementioned ‘Cristal’.

For the contribution she made to the genre of pink melodrama in the 70s and 80s, she was nicknamed the mother of the Latin American soap opera. Many of his soap operas were covered in different Spanish-speaking countries.

Shortly after the news of his death was released, Venevisión joined the displays of grief and in a message on Twitter expressed his condolences to his family and friends. “(A) great writer who says goodbye to us after 96 years of life shaping great unforgettable stories,” wrote the Venezuelan channel.

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