Tuesday 28 February 2017
Paul Iredale was one of the greats - an untimely loss. His time in Latin America has left many friends. He was known for flying into the altiplano above La Paz, playing squash, drinking whisky and showing none of the effects of soroche or altitude sickness that afflicted mere mortals. He remained a true Reuters reporter to the end, truly “of Reuters” rather than just someone who was “with Reuters”, to steal a phrase.
I have just let some of our mutual Latin friends know and this came straight back from Lucho Alvarez in Chile (my translation, so all mistakes mine):
“We worked together many times, in Santiago, and in the Pope’s visit to Bolivia and Peru. It is such sad news - he was so upbeat, warm and fun (alegre, simpático y entretenido). When he came to Santiago, he would head for the Bar Nacional and order a bottle of Colo de Mono (Monkey’s Tail - a traditional Christmas drink, usually home made with firewater, coffee and milk). He would drink the bottle himself and order more to take home.
"I shared many stories, such as the bullet that pierced his hat in El Salvador (he was a fanatic of hats) and the crocodile that came into the terrace of his house in Lima.
"Many years ago, I received a call at 5 am. It was Paul calling me from New Delhi to ask questions about the Chilean president who was going to India. “When you’re in India, come and see me,” he said.
"It is a shame he has gone so young." ■