Maria Emilia Martin

Our dear friend and sister María Emilia Martin passed over the rainbow bridge early Saturday, December 2, 2023 in a peaceful and beautiful way. With barely a sound and as the “perfect” recording she would have wanted in a room full of peace and love surrounded by her family and all of you at every corner of the world holding her up. Thank you all for all your deep love you sent her way in all your messages, recordings, and more importantly for the important role you each played in her life here on earth.

María Emilia Martin was a founder and leader in both public and independent media, and media education in Spanish and English-- primarily covering issues related to LatinX people in the U.S. and Latin America as well as indigenous people.

She was a founder of KBBF in Santa Rosa, California, the first bi-lingual radio station in America.

She founded NPR's Latino USA based in Austin Texas, and the GraciasVida Center for Media based in Antigua Guatemala, among others.

For the last ten years, the Center has worked to improve the skills and working situation for rural and indigenous journalists in Guatemala, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, as well as to improve the coverage of Central America on U.S. public radio.

Martin was a tireless reporter and creative producer, dedicated to journalism at its highest level and its broadest reach. She taught journalism in university classrooms, and in small towns from West Virginia to Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, and in Bolivia, where she literally went village to village teaching people how to report and publish about their conditions, passions and concerns. María was a leader in both news coverage and culture, as well as religion. In her book, "Crossing Bridges: A Journalist's Heart in Latin America ", Martin tells her story overcoming the many obstacles of racism and sexism, forging a path for the next generation of independent, and LatinX journalists, especially women. She will be terribly missed by her huge network of fans and friends, on both sides of the border and around the world. For the past 20 years she made her home in her beloved Antiqua, Guatemala with regular trips to Austin and San Antonio, Texas where she recently became affiliated with "The Esperanza, Peace and Justice Center."

Maria Martin Reports

Maria Martin Reports

September 13, 2023
President-Elect Arévalo Calls For Transition Pause
Guatemala’s President-elect Bernardo Arévalo is calling for a temporary halt of the presidential transition process, this after the Justice Department staff raided the offices of the country’s highest electoral authorities.

Maria Martin Reports

September 6, 2023
Guatemalan Presidential Transition Begins
These are critical times for Guatemala's fragile democracy. Recently the country's much-criticized Attorney General Consuelo Porras met with the head of the Organization of American States as part of the uncertain presidential transition and her Justice Department’s role in the country’s turbulent election process.
Meanwhile, indigenous leaders carried out traditional ceremonies to censure the attorney general and others they accuse of corruption.

August 21, 2023
Guatemala Election News
A planned celebration of anti-corruption candidate Bernardo Arévalo’s historic landslide victory was canceled two days after the August 20th election, as Guatemala’s Justice Department and losing parties used legal means to try to stop Arevalo’s progressive presidency.

Newspaper founder and editor José Rubén Zamora is taken in a patrol car back to prison after a court hearing in Guatemala City, Wednesday, June 14, 2023. A tribunal has convicted Zamora and sentenced him to six years in prison in a money laundering case. (AP Photo/Santiago Billy)
June 22, 2023
SOS Central America
The first episode of a limited series examining the crisis of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in the Central American region. This episode explores the case of renowned Guatemalan journalist Jose Ruben Zamora, arrested in July of last year.

Maria Martin Reports

July 25, 2023
Guatemalans continue to fight for their fragile democracy
(National Native News) Hundreds of Guatemalans took to the streets over the weekend to protest...
July 25, 2023
Guatemalans continue to fight for their fragile democracy
(National Native News) Hundreds of Guatemalans took to the streets over the weekend to protest...
July 21, 2023
Intento por descalificar candidato presidencial dispara entusiasmo electoral en Guatemala
(en Español en Radio Bilingüe) Attempt to disqualify presidential candidate triggers electoral enthusiasm in Guatemala
July 18, 2023
Tensions rise ahead of the presidential election in Guatemala
(NPR) The next few weeks of campaigning in Guatemala will be tense...
June 25, 2023
Maria Martin is interviewed
by NPR's Weekend Sunday Edition Host Ayesha Rascoe about Guatemalan elections held June 25.
June 23, 2023
Guatemala está en vísperas de controversiales elecciones presidenciales
(en Español en Radio Bilingüe) Maria Martin Reports in Spanish on Guatemalan Elections
February 23, 2023
Maria Martin reports for National Native News on protests by indigenous groups
on legal efforts to exclude indigenous candidate Thelma Cabrera from being on the ballot as a candidate for president of Guatemala which has a high percentage of indigenous citizens.
One of several documentaries Maria Martin produced on Central American "spiritual exemplars"
for USC's Center for Religion and Civic Discourse. This one focuses on the story of indigenous rights leader Rosalina Tuyuc.
After the Wars/ Despues de las Guerras
After the Wars An award-winning 12-part radio documentary series produced in English and in Spanish by U.S. radio reporters and their Central American colleagues–achieving a unique international collaboration. Awarded best radio production in Latin America award by the International Federation of Journalists (FIP).
Latino USA Latino USA
The radio journal of news and culture now distributed by PRX and produced by the Futuro Media Group. Maria Martin was the founding producer of this award-winning pioneer program covering U.S. Latinos and Latin America for English-language audiences.

What Do They Say About GraciasVida?

"...A unique perspective on all things Latin, both here at home and in Latin America..."

- Nancy Rios, listener

"...because of her honesty, integrity, empathy, and tech savviness, Maria and GraciasVida bring into focus the plight of many of the forgotten voices of our sisters and brothers in a very human way."

- Ana Kothe, listener

"...authentic stories that engage, provoke, enlighten and create opportunities for different endings..."

- Walter Morgan, engineer

"...offers thoughtful reporting which respects its subjects and enlightens the listener. GraciasVida offers journalism and radio experience; cultural sensitivity; intimate and profound knowledge of Mexico, Mexican-American, Latino, Latina-American and border culture; inovative information; a unifying voice willing to relocate to dangerous places to get the true story on rebels, heroes, and victims; and true caring for the problems of its subject. Gracias Vida offers invaluable resources for teaching cultural heritage, awareness, and pride in deeply complicated issues, people, and their history; it gives Latinos living in the U.S. a broader picture of their culture and their worth."

- Kathy Gronau, marketer, Los Angeles, California

"...highly produced programming which explores stories not covered in the mainstream media–stories which allow the general public to understand Latinos and Latin America.

"GraciasVida offers holistic, intelligent and diverse programming that engages the imagination and inspires progressive action–programming which contributes to the bettement of the Latino community and enriches all of us.

"In this day of corporate lowest-common-denominator programming, GraciasVida's productions stand out as brain and soul food!!!!"

- Leslie Fields, listener, Washington, D.C.

"GraciasVida offers fabulous insights. It is top quality reporting with a human connection which leaves audiences with a sense of true understanding and knowledge of the people and countries they're hearing about."

- Susan Lee, listener, Austin, Texas