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Dr. Alberto Piedra Dies At Age 95

January 12, 2022 Featured Today No Comments

Alberto Martinez Piedra, professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Economics in the School of Arts and Sciences as well as former director of the Latin American Institute, died on December 20, 2021 at the age of 95.
He is predeceased by his wife of 60 years, Edita Enriquez de Martinez-Piedra. He is survived by his five children and 14 grandchildren, Alberto Martinez-Piedra, Javier Martinez-Piedra, Pedro Martinez-Piedra, Edita Martinez-Piedra Robinson, Conchita Martinez-Piedra Heffron and his fourteen grandchildren: Edita Maria, Colin James, Pedro, Nicolas, Alix, Andrew, Alexander, Isabel, Maximilian, Anna, Katarina, Gordon, Cameron, and Isabel.
Dr. Piedra contributed numerous articles to The Wanderer, on subjects ranging from “Pope Benedict: The Forgotten Pope” (December 2, 2017) to the work of German philosopher Josef Pieper, to Castro and Cuba, to the de-Christianization of France, and more.
Piedra held a doctorate in law (1951) from the University of Havana, Cuba, a doctorate in political economy (1957) from the University of Madrid, Spain, and a Ph.D. in economics (1962) from Georgetown University.
Dr. Piedra began his academic career in Cuba, his country of origin, where he was a professor of economics at the Universidad Catolica de Santo Tomas de Villanueva in Havana from 1955 to 1956.
After leaving Cuba and briefly working for the Organization of American States (1960-1962), Dr. Piedra joined the Catholic University of America in 1963, where he worked until his retirement with the rank of professor emeritus in 1999. During his time at Catholic University, he served as the director of the Latin American Institute (1965-82), and as the chair of the Department of Economics (1967-1974 and 1984-1989).
After his retirement from Catholic University, Dr. Piedra held the Donald E. Bently Chair of Political Economy at the Institute of Word Politics in Washington, D.C., from 2004 until 2012.
Dr. Piedra also served from 1982 to 1984 as the United States Representative, with the personal rank of Ambassador, at the Organization of American States. In the summer of 1984 he was appointed United States Ambassador to Guatemala and served until 1988 when he went to the U.S. Mission at the United Nations as Senior Policy Adviser on Latin American Affairs.
He commuted between the U.S. Mission in New York and the U.S. Mission in Geneva as the American representative at The Human Rights Commission and at the meetings of the Economic and Social Council of the UN. He also was a longstanding consultant to the Inter-American Development Bank.
Dr. Piedra’s areas of expertise were political economy, history of economic thought, ethics, and the social doctrine of the Church. He published extensively in these areas. He was the author of several books, including Socio-Economic Change in Latin America (1970), Guatemala: A Promise in Peril (1980), El Renacer de la Libertad: La Transicion a la Democracia en Guatemala (1994), Natural Law, The Foundation of an Orderly Economic System (2004), and No God, No Civilization (2018).
He was the recipient of several awards, including the Keys and Distinguished Guest of the city of Huhuetenango, Guatemala (1984), Proclamation for Support of School to School Program, School Board of Dade County (1985), Distinguished Visitor Award by the Mayor of the City of Miami, Fla., (1986), Man of the Year Award (1986), Distinguished Friend of the city of Antigua, Guatemala (1986), and The Order of the Quetzal, Republic of Guatemala (1987).
In 1997 he received the Pope Pius Award for his contributions toward social science (1997), and was the recipient of a doctorate Honoris Causa from St. Thomas University in Miami, Fla.
Celebration of the Mass of Christian Burial for Dr. Piedra took place on January 8, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at the Church of Little Flower in Bethesda, Md.
The family suggests that donations be made to Mary, Mother of Love Fairest Family Shrine at the following address: https://www.fairestloveshrine.org/give.
May this servant of God rest in peace.

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