CIRO VALIENTE

Manager of Marketing and Communications
Latinos For Education

 

Heritage: Venezuelan

By: Frank Morris Lopez

Awards & Recognitions

  • New England Emmy Award, Live News Producer, 2021

  • New England Emmy Award, Team News Coverage, 2021

  • First Literacy Scholarship Award, 2015

  • First Literacy Scholarship Award, 2016

Ciro Valiente lives up to his name. He is, as his surname implies, brave. Before moving to the U.S., Valiente was kidnapped twice while living in his home country of Venezuela — all because he was doing his job.

He was managing social media for the National Congress, but was also working as a freelance journalist. When political protests broke out around the country in 2012, he knew he had to cover them. When those loyal to Hugo Chavez found out, Valiente was kidnapped by members of the country’s intelligence agency. They accused him of being a traitor and aiding and embedding the opposition party. A year and a half later, he was kidnapped again.

“They drove me around for four hours, hitting me and asking me who was paying for the protest,” Valiente recalled. “I told them I was just doing my work as a journalist, however, they didn’t believe me and they started beating me with the handle of the gun. I thought I was living the last minutes of my life.”

When he finally made it home, he knew what he needed to do: Leave.

“I always say I came to the United States, not because I was looking for the American dream, but because I was looking for a place to stay alive,” Valiente said.

 

He ended up in Massachusetts, where he landed a role as a digital media editor and video producer right here at El Mundo Boston. He’d go on to become a freelance producer and editor for public affairs programs Urban Update and Revista Hispana on WHDH-TV. He even got a gig serving as a Spanish-language network play-by-play announcer for the Boston Red Sox.

 

“I had to start from zero when I came here. I didn’t know the language; I didn’t know the culture. I didn’t have friends or a professional network. So I had to start all of that, and I didn’t have a lot of money, either — but I made it,” Valiente said.

He also made history. After working as a news producer for Univision and Telemundo, he won not one, but two New England Emmy Awards, becoming the first Latino to win for Outstanding Live News Producer.

In 2015 and 2016, Valiente was the recipient of the First Literacy Scholarship Award, and one year later he became the youngest member of the board of directors. Each year, the organization awards $1,500 scholarships to recent graduates of Massachusetts Adult Basic Education or English language programs who are continuing on to vocational training or higher education.

 

Now, he continues to do what he’s always done: Tell other people’s stories — this time, as the manager of marketing and communications at the national nonprofit Latinos for Education, the first Latino founded and led national organization dedicated to creating leadership pathways for emerging Latino education leaders and diversifying education nonprofit boards.

 

“There is no secret that Latinos in this country are the future,” Valiente said. “So, keep learning, keep working hard, never give up — and be brave.” Valiente indeed.