Raoul A. Cortez was a Mexican-American media executive and civil rights activist who founded the first full-time Spanish-language radio and television stations in the contiguous United States. He died in 1971, but his legacy lives on in the Latino community and the broadcasting industry. However, some rumors have circulated that he faked his death and is still alive. In this article, we will explore who Raoul A. Cortez was, how he died, and why some people believe he is still alive.
Who Was Raoul A. Cortez?
Raoul A. Cortez was born in 1905 in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, one of nine siblings. His father owned a radio station in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. As a young man, Cortez sold eggs on the streets to earn money for airtime on local radio stations, where he would produce a variety of shows and sell advertising.
In the 1910s, the family emigrated to the United States, soon after the start of the Mexican Revolution. Cortez eventually settled in San Antonio, Texas, where he took on a number of different jobs, such as dressing windows for Penner’s men’s store and working as a sales representative for Pearl Brewery.
He got his start in media working as a reporter for La Prensa, a San Antonio–based Spanish-language daily newspaper. He later began buying airtime on KMAC radio producing Spanish songs, comedic acts and sketches. Cortez soon came to the conclusion that a new, full-time Spanish-language radio station was needed. He wanted to be able to broadcast Spanish-language programming all day, every day and night.
In 1944, Cortez applied for a license to open his own radio station. To get around wartime restrictions on foreign language media, he stated that part of the station’s purpose was to mobilize the Mexican-American community behind the war effort. The license was granted to him, and he eventually opened KCOR 1350 AM in San Antonio in 1946, the first all Spanish-language radio station owned and operated by a Hispanic, using the signature line “La Voz Mexicana, the Voice of Mexican Americans.” .
The success of his radio station led to Cortez adding television to his broadcasting operation, becoming the first Latino-run American TV station in Spanish. He launched KCOR-TV in 1955, which later became KWEX-TV, the flagship station of the Univision network.
In addition to his contributions to media, Cortez was also a civil rights advocate for Latinos in the U.S. throughout his life. He oversaw the court case Delgado v. Bastrop Independent School District, which ended the segregation of Mexican Americans in Texas public schools. He also served in various leadership roles with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), which fought for the civil rights of Mexican Americans.
Cortez married Genoveva Valdés Cortez, a Cuban-American woman who was also involved in the media business. They had three children: Raoul Jr., Gloria, and Carlos. Cortez was a devout Catholic and a generous philanthropist. He supported many causes, such as education, health, and arts. He also sponsored many cultural events and programs, such as the annual Fiesta San Antonio.
Is Raoul A. Cortez Alive? Death and Rumors
Cortez died on December 17, 1971, at the age of 66, in San Antonio, Texas. The cause of his death was reported as a heart attack. He was buried at San Fernando Cemetery II.
However, some rumors have circulated that he faked his death and is still alive. These rumors are based on several factors, such as:
- The lack of a public funeral or memorial service for Cortez. His family opted for a private burial, which raised some suspicions among his fans and followers.
- The mysterious disappearance of his personal and professional records. His family claimed that they lost or destroyed most of his documents, photos, and tapes, which made it difficult to verify his life and death. Some speculated that they did this to cover up his escape.
- The sightings of a man resembling Cortez in various locations, such as Mexico, Cuba, and Spain. Some witnesses claimed that they saw him living under a different name or identity, or working as a radio or TV host.
Debunking Rumors and Discussing the Mysterious Death of Raoul A. Cortez
Despite the rumors, there is no credible evidence that Cortez is still alive. His death certificate, his grave, and his family’s testimonies confirm that he died in 1971. His legacy is not diminished by his death, but rather enhanced by his achievements and contributions. He is widely recognized as a pioneer of Spanish-language media and a champion of Latino rights in the U.S. He has received many honors and awards, such as the media excellence award from the National Association of Broadcasters, and the Medallas de Cortez Hispanic Radio Award, which is named after him and celebrates Latino radio leaders. He was also inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Hall of Fame.
Unraveling the truth
The rumors about his death are likely fueled by the mystery and secrecy that surrounded his life and career. Cortez was a private and reserved person, who did not like to share much about his personal affairs. He also faced many challenges and threats, such as discrimination, censorship, and competition, which may have prompted him to be cautious and secretive. He was also involved in some controversial and sensitive issues, such as politics, religion, and civil rights, which may have attracted some enemies or conspirators.
Speculations and theories
The rumors about his death are also influenced by the fascination and admiration that many people have for him and his work. Cortez was a charismatic and influential figure, who inspired and entertained millions of listeners and viewers. He was also a visionary and an innovator, who created and developed new forms of media and communication. He was a legend and a hero, who fought and advocated for the rights and dignity of his community. Some people may find it hard to accept that he is gone, or may wish that he is still alive. Some people may also enjoy the mystery and the intrigue that his death generates, or may have ulterior motives to spread false information.
Raoul A. Cortez was a Mexican-American media executive and civil rights activist who founded the first full-time Spanish-language radio and television stations in the contiguous United States. He died in 1971, but his legacy lives on in the Latino community and the broadcasting industry. However, some rumors have circulated that he faked his death and is still alive. These rumors are based on several factors, such as the lack of a public funeral, the disappearance of his records, and the sightings of a look-alike. However, these rumors are not supported by any credible evidence, and are likely fueled by the mystery, the admiration, and the speculation that surround his life and death. Cortez was a remarkable and influential person, who deserves to be remembered and honored for his achievements and contributions. He is not alive, but he is not forgotten.