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Dolores Prida, journalist; described Hispanic life

Dolores Prida read one of her plays in Miami in 1986.

Susan Greenwood/New York Times

Dolores Prida read one of her plays in Miami in 1986.

NEW YORK — Dolores Prida — a Cuban-born journalist and playwright who wrote candidly and wittily about local and national politics, romance, and other personal matters and about the joys and vexations of the Hispanic experience in the United States — died Sunday in Manhattan. She was 69.

Ms. Prida was returning to her home in Spanish Harlem from a Saturday night party celebrating the 20th anniversary of a women’s group she belonged to when she began feeling ill, her sister Lourdes ­Diharce said. Diharce accompanied her to Mount Sinai Hospital, where she died. An autopsy was performed Tuesday, but Diharce said she had not yet been informed of the cause of death.

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Ms. Prida wrote several plays and the book for ‘‘4 Guys named Jose . . . and Una Mujer Named ­Maria!’’ a musical that appeared off-Broadway in 2000. But she was more prominent as a journalist. She wrote a monthly column in English for The Daily News in New York from 2005 until 2012; at her death she had been writing a weekly column for El Diario/La Prensa, the New York Spanish-language daily, and translating it into English for the website VoicesofNY.org, which is affiliated with City University of New York journalism school.

In addition, for more than a dozen years she wrote the column ‘‘Dolores Dice,’’ Spanish for ‘‘Dolores Says,’’ for Latina magazine, dispensing romantic advice, mediating disputes, and advising mutual respect among factions in the Hispanic world.

A self-confessed media hound who devoured newspaper and television news reports, Ms. Prida was frustrated by the lack of coverage of Hispanic Americans.

‘‘She was always perplexed at the idea that there was so little news about Latinos, this incredible sector of the US, and that what there was so often negative,’’ said Maite Junco, a former editor of a section of The Daily News aimed at Latino readers, and now the editor of VoicesofNY.org. ‘‘She’d say, ‘If I have to see the video one more time of people jumping the fence in Mexico . . . ’ ’’

Her newspaper work aimed to end that. Her subjects — gun control, immigration, parenting, education — were approached from a Hispanic perspective. A column on censorship and freedom of speech focused on a Puerto Rican show featuring a gossiping puppet known as La Comay with a penchant for homosexual slurs.

‘’The type of humor represented by La Comay and those mental adolescents of Spanish-language ­radio morning shows are repugnant to me, and worse yet, they don’t make me laugh,’’ Ms. Prida wrote. ‘‘But since I have the freedom to move my radio dial, I never listen to them. That is the only type of censorship I can tolerate.’’

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