Remembering Longtime Editor Fred Rosen

Naclistas share memories of working and walking alongside Fred Rosen, who dedicated decades to NACLA. Fred died at age 81 in Cuernavaca, Mexico, on September 12, 2023.

October 13, 2023

Fred Rosen's detailed account of NACLA history, originally published in 2002, was excerpted in the 2018 50th anniversary issue of the NACLA Report, to which Fred also contributed as guest editor. (Portrait courtesy of Irene Ortiz)

Read Fred Rosen's detailed history of NACLA, originally published in the 2002 35th anniversary issue of the NACLA Report on the Americas—now available open access for a limited time.

Eric Hershberg, professor emeritus at American University and longtime NACLA Board member in the 1990s and 2000s:

Fred Rosen was a consequential radical economist, an intellectual, and a gracious, kind person. He was also a treasured friend. As a member of NACLA’s board for many years, I marveled at how on repeated occasions Fred stepped up to edit the magazine when we had no funds to pay staff or were in between editors. He was our savior, repeatedly. The institution would not have survived if not for his generosity and commitment.

The quality of the work that Fred produced for NACLA, and other outlets, in Mexico as well as the U.S., testifies to the sharpness of his intellect and as a first rate journalist-editor who always would get the sentence just right.

When nearly 20 years ago NACLA was subletting space from The New Press, the latter invited us to prepare a book on contemporary Latin America. That resulted in Latin America after Neoliberalism, which I edited with Fred. The book was worthwhile, made it onto a lot of college course reading lists, and has had a decent shelf life. I will forever treasure memories of that collaborative work with Fred, and of course of the conversations over breakfast pancakes that we made a habit of scheduling next door to the office I worked from in midtown Manhattan during most of the decade of the 2000s.

Carlos M. Vilas, sociologist and historian, former NACLA Editorial Committee member:

En esta tarde gris y húmeda de Buenos Aires, cuando la primavera no se decide a instalarse y el invierno se empeña en no irse, recibo la noticia de que Fred ya no está entre nosotros.

Intelectual comprometido de veras con la emancipación latinoamericana, durante las décadas en que se desempeñó como Editor del NACLA Report on the Americas fue un portal de acceso a la izquierda y el antiimperialismo en Estados Unidos, y de instalación de nuestras ideas y acciones en ese medio. Fue mucho más que un aliado: era uno de nosotros, con convicciones firmes y reflexiones profundas.

En alguno de mis viajes a Nueva York me dio cobijo en su apartamento del Upper West Side, en sus visitas a la Nicaragua sandinista nos encontrábamos con frecuencia. Sus observaciones y comentarios siempre fueron agudos y razonables, poniendo de relieve que es posible, en realidad necesario pero nunca fácil, alcanzar un equilibrio entre el entusiasmo de la esperanza y el realismo de la acción política. Las revoluciones centroamericanas y del Caribe siempre encontraron en él un compañero.

Linda Farthing, journalist, author, and longtime NACLA contributor:

While I wrote for NACLA under Fred's competent and steady editing several times, the most memorable interchange I had with him was in 2015. I had agreed to volunteer as web editor for the summer while the NYU graduate student then in charge went off to do research in Brazil. Then I broke my wrist in a tumble along a beautiful California path and really couldn't use my left hand to type or do anything else, certainly not editing. Fred, who was well into his 70s, stepped up and offered to help me. Even though his editing skills were definitely fading, and I worked with a pencil in my mouth to replace my left hand in highlighting and removing text, between the two of us we made NACLA's web articles work for six weeks that summer. I was once again struck by his generosity, his dedication to NACLA and to its vision, as well as to Latin American solidarity more broadly. He is honored and will be much missed.

David Bacon, photojournalist, author, and former NACLA Editorial Committee member:

In the 1990s I began writing and photographing the movements of migrant communities from southern Mexico and Guatemala to the U.S., looking especially at the roots of displacement and the criminalization of migrants. As NACLA editor Fred offered NACLA Reports as a vehicle for getting this documentation out into the world when mainstream media doors were closed. He particularly supported its strong critique and analysis of the impact of neoliberalism and NAFTA/CAFTA. Fred organized events for the books that came out of this, for which I was very grateful. Even after stepping down, when I needed advice or support he was there. I owe him a lot and will miss him a lot too. ¡Fred Rosen, presente!

Deidre McFadyen, former NACLA editor:

My first job out of Columbia Journalism School was as deputy editor at NACLA Report on the Americas, a bimonthly magazine for Latin American scholars and activists. Within months of my hiring, Fred Rosen became the editor. Fred had deep roots in NYC social justice work but was just turning his focus to Latin America and gaining fluency in Spanish. He was a kind, gentle man, a sensitive and astute editor, a raconteur with a wry sense of humor. He was both my mentor and my friend.

My career went in a different direction, while Fred remained an integral part of the NACLA community and served as a key adviser on its Mexico coverage. He moved to Cuernavaca with his spouse Irene, while Parkinson’s disease took a greater and greater toll. I was blessed to know him. ¡Fred Rosen, presente!

Pierre LaRamee, NACLA Board of Directors member:

Fred was an excellent colleague and a good friend with whom it was both an honor and a pleasure to collaborate. His demise is a personal loss for all of us, and he will also be sorely missed in our cause. ¡Fred Rosen, presente!

Steven Volk, professor emertitus at Oberlin College, former NACLA research director and longtime board member:

Fred was a remarkable person. I was always inspired not only by his steadfast commitment, his investigative ability, the sharpness of his analysis but also by his calm and steady demeanor when all around him seemed in chaos. He will be greatly missed.


Like this article? Support our work. Donate now.