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Jules Waldman, Founder of English Newspaper, Dies After Attack

July 26, 1990

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) _ Jules Waldman, founder of Venezuela’s English-language newspaper, has died of stroke one month after an armed gang bound him up and robbed his Caracas home. He was 77.

Waldman was a New York City native and former correspondent for The New York Times who founded The Daily Journal in Caracas in 1945. He died Wednesday night, the paper reported on its front page Thursday.

Waldman was buried Thursday afternoon in Caracas’ Cementerio del Este.

Waldman, a prominent member of Venezuela’s American community, was hospitalized for shock on June 30 when a gang of thieves broke into his home in a Caracas suburb, tied him up at gunpoint and made off with the family valuables.

Waldman contracted pneumonia but seemed on his way to recovery when he had the stroke, the Daily Journal reported.

The Caracas Journal, founded as a weekly to be ″a link between the English-language (expatriate) community and Venezuela,″ grew into a 15,000 daily circulation newspaper. It served as a training ground for many young American journalists who later became foreign correspondents.

Born Dec. 14, 1912, into a middle-class Queens family, Waldman graduated from Columbia University and spent the Depression years in various jobs. He first worked in journalism as a part-time, $10-per-week feature writer at the now-defunct Long Island Daily Press.

He tripled his salary by becoming an ad man at B. Altman & Co. Influenced by a collegue who had left New York for Venezuela, Waldman took a leave of absence in 1940 and sailed for Caracas. The city became his adopted home.

Waldman had convinced B. Altman to make him their Venezuela representative, and accompanying him on the ship were six Steinway pianos. He and a collegue set up Venezuela’s first music store.

But Waldman enjoyed reporting, and nights after closing the shop he wrote articles for Harpers magazine and the New Republic. Sidelined during World War II for medical reasons, he helped set up the Venezuelan-America n Center, the focus of Caracas’ English-language community.

He also dreamed of starting a newspaper.

″I felt it could inform, entertain and enlighten both foreigners and bilingual Venezuelans, of whom there were many,″ the Daily Journal quoted Waldman as saying in 1985.

Waldman, among other stories, chronicled the overthrow of Venezuela’s last dictatorship on Jan. 23, 1958, the day strongman Marcos Perez Jimenez fled the country.

Waldman recalled standing on the roof of his house on a hill when he saw a DC-4 take off from the private La Carlota airport below. ″We knew it was carrying the ex-president, a few of his friends, and his wife to Santa Domingo,″ he was quoted as saying.

He rushed to the newspaper, called in the rest of the Daily Journal staff and by 5 a.m. a bilingual special edition was on the street - hours before the other Venezuelan dailies.

Waldman wrote intermittently for The New York Times for about 25 years, and befriended some of Venezuela’s presidents. He received Venezuela’s National Journalism Award, and many presidential decorations.

He is survived by his wife, the former Agnes Dolnay, two children, Catherine and Kenneth, and four grandchildren.

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