Ecuador: Farewell to Petronio Salazar

Don Petro

Picture by Carlos Jumbo under authorization.

Many Latin Americans, in one way or another, love sports, and are especially fond of fútbol (soccer). In addition, the middle and lower income people enjoy practicing sports, especially volleyball, indoor fútbol and soccer. It was in these surroundings, that a very charismatic person named Petronio Salazar was born in Quito, eventually became very famous and popular in Guayaquil. He received his start as commentator in the popular Ecuadorian Radio Network (CRE) that has been transmitting in Ecuador and now online to the world since 1940. He's been awarded by various Ecuadorian institutions such as the Board of Ecuadorian Sports Journalists, the Ecuadorian Association of Radio and had received special mentions during the Ecuadorian Commentor's Day. He especially remembered for his commentating for the 1974 World Cup.

In spite of his popularity, it is hard to find a picture of Petronio Salazar (except for one similar to the one pictured above), who lately was away from the microphones because of his illness. He can only be compared with charisma of Carlos Efrain Machado (who doesn't recall his laughing?). Salazar sadly passed away at the age of 70 after a lengthy illness. Bloggers remember with nostalgia how they grew up listening Petronio Salazar, even in places where radio waves barely were received. Blogger Carlos Jumbo cries [es]:

…mucha gente que creció escuchando su original narración de un encuentro de fútbol, en mi natal Potrerillos, un pueblito casi desaparecido en el mapa, era la época dorada de las emisoras ubicadas en la frecuencia AM, CRE (no se llamaba Satelital en aquél entonces y no estaba en FM), llevaba las emociones día a día…

…Many people who grew up listening to his original commentaries of a soccer match in my native Potrerillos, a town almost that disappeared from the map, was the golden age of radio stations located in the AM frequency, CRE (not named Satellital at that time and wasn't FM neither) carried the emotions everyday …

Cronist Sports Manual, an old page created in order to build up the soccer terminology and quotes a very original expression used by Don Petro:

Ese jugador se quedó fuera de juego, pero usted no se quede sin su ……(publicidad). – Petronio Salazar, haciendo publicidad en la C.R.E.

That player was off side, but you should not be left without your ……( advertising). – Petronio Salazar, doing publicity in the CRE

The Universe is one of the major newspapers in Ecuador and its headquarters are in Guayaquil. Its founders were close in business to Victor Emilo Estrada and Rafael Guerrero Valenzuela, both directors of the first and second CRE. Rafael Veintimilla writer of this newspaper, gave us some semblance of Petronio:

…apenas un adolescente que estudiaba en el colegio La Salle en su natal Quito y que no imaginaba ser uno de los relatores más carismáticos del fútbol ecuatoriano, se escondía por la vergüenza.

…Barely a teenager studying at La Salle school in his native Quito, did not realize that he would be one of the most charismatic Ecuadorian soccer commentors, often was caught hiding out of shame.

The timid young man was a star in the soccer games, acting as ‘reporter’ while seated and using his motto “Cántelo y grítelo” (sing it and shout it) where referring to a goal. This is what La boca del pozo [es] would summarize:

“Don Petro”, así lo conocía la afición deportiva del Ecuador, fue un ícono de la voz y relato del país

“Don Petro,” was how sports fans of Ecuador knew him by, and he was an icon for his voice and for his commentary for the country

Other bloggers also criticized some of the Guayaquil newspaper. El ojo en la hoja [es] says those newspapers used euphemisms, and they didn't cover the whole information about ‘Don Petro’ death and he reassures:

Me gustaba de Petronio esa forma culta y frontal de decir las cosas, como lo hacen la mayoría de guayaquileños, directo a la vena pero sin mala educación, por eso es que me indigna que se usen eufemismos para explicar la muerte.

I liked Petronio and his cultured and straighfoward way of saying things, which is how most guayaquileños do the same, direct to the point, but without being rude, which is why I am outraged that euphemisms are used to explain his death.

Finally, another ‘broder’ (brother) living in the Big Apple called upon his Catholic beliefs to ask for Petronio Salazar eternal rest, Un guayaco en New York [es], writes:

Descansa en Paz Petronio. Parece que alla en el cielo necesitaban un locutor que te mandaron a llamar. Ahora el cielo ya tiene la dupla inmortal: Pepe Murillo y Petronio Salazar. Me imagino en el cielo a Pepe y don Petro narrando los goles de Alberto Spencer, Carlitos Munoz y Jimmy Izquierdo

Rest in Peace, Petronio. It seems that all in heaven needed an announcer and they were asking for you. Now Heaven has the immortal pair: Pepe Murillo and Petronio Salazar. I imagine in Heaven, Pepe and Don Petro narrating the goals of Alberto Spencer, Carlitos Munoz and Jimmy Izquierdo.

1 comment

  • […] Ecuador | Radio man Salazar’s death triggers national nostalgia From shy teenage days in Quito, Petronio Salazar would act as sideline reporter at neighborhood football matches. Here broadcaster Salazar, who has died at 70, developed his “cantélo y grítelo” (sing it and shout it) goal call. (Global Voices, 6 Feb 08) (tags: ecuador media pathos) […]

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