Spanish Diplomat Maria Cristina Barrios passed away at the University of Miami Hospital on Tuesday. She was 69.
During her lengthy career, Barrios held many important positions. In 1998 and 2002 she was named as an ambassador for Spain in Switzerland and Mexico, respectively, and in 2007, she served as an ambassador on a Special Mission for Climate Change.
The Diplomat, who was Miami’s consul general from 2010 until mid-2015, was a dedicated supporter of Miami’s cultural activities. She was granted a position as Honorary President of the Cultural Center of Miami (Centro Cultural Español).
At the time of her death, Barrios was accompanied by her brother, Pablo Barrios Almazor, who is a diplomat as well.
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“It’s with great sorrow and profound sadness that we share the news of the passing of ambassador Cristina Barrios Almazor,” said Candido Creis, Spain’s consul general in Miami.
“Her enthusiastic leadership and great valor, her commitment and dedication, have proven to be essential tools to reinforce, even more if that’s possible, bilateral relations between the United States and Spain. Her values and legacy will remain in our memories forever.”
Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado told el Nuevo Herald he could still remember the day after the diplomat arrived in Miami. Regalado held an initial meeting with Barrios in City Hall and recalls how she quickly gained everyone’s trust.
“In my 20 years of public service, I can’t remember any other consul general who was as close to leaders and to the community as Cristina was,” Regalado said.
Eduardo Padron, President of Miami Dade College, noted that Barrios “was an example of a humanitarian diplomat, curious and open to all ideas.”
Businesswoman Aida Levitan said Barrios “was one of those unforgettable people, who not only had charisma but who knew how to achieve her goals and make her dreams come true.”
“She was an exceptional leader, a loyal friend and a diplomat who represented Spain magnificently,” Levitan said.
Francisco Tardio, Director of the Cultural Center of Miami said that because of “her lively and happy attitude, her perseverance and infinite energy,” she will always been an inspiration for the entire team at the center.
Maria Cristina Barrios Almazor was born on May 26, 1946, in San Sebastian, Spain. She obtained a degree in Philosophy and another in International Studies from the Diplomat School of Madrid. She began her career in diplomacy in 1979.
Barrios served as an ambassador on a special mission to reconstruct Haiti (2010-2011). She also served as ambassador to Switzerland and Lithuania.
Barrios’ family requested a special celebration in her memory. It will take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the CCE, 1490 Biscayne Boulevard. A condolence book will be open to the public.