As head of the paper's editorial department, Marquez leads a staff of three writers and a political cartoonist.
A registered Independent who says she has voted for both Republicans and Democrats, Marquez understands the soul of the city.
In addition to having fled Cuba for Florida, Marquez lived through and was inspired by the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
This background has fueled not only her wariness of Communism but also her compassion for the historically disenfranchised -- women, minorities, the poor, and the like.
"I'm sort of the lump sum of all those things put together," she said.
Marquez's upbringing is in line with her description of the Herald's editorial leanings: "socially moderate to liberal, and fiscally more moderate to conservative."
Ann Louise Bardach, a leading expert on relations between Cuba and Miami, has kind words for Marquez, who, in addition to her current leadership duties, pens a column for the paper.
"She's smart, witty and fun to read," said Bardach, whose new book on Fidel Castro received national attention this week. "You know, she speaks for a certain segment of La Comunidad -- the Cuban exile community."
Like many immigrants, Marquez has a remarkable story to tell.
The daughter of a mother who taught school and father who shuttled tourists around Havana in his taxi, her family's charmed life in that country came to an abrupt halt during the Cuban Revolution. Led by Fidel Castro, the uprising put a chokehold on tourism, to the devastation of her father's business, she said.
The family decamped to Florida in 1959, when she was 5.
"We were thinking we'd be back in a year or two when things settled down," she told HispanicBusiness.com. "Fifty years later, here I am. ... It's the story of a million Cubans who left the island."
Marquez said some of her relatives who stayed in Cuba experienced tough times. Her grandfather, for instance, lost his business -- a cafeteria near the Havana airport -- when the government took it over six or seven years after the revolution.
Marquez was inspired to study journalism partly by the industry-changing Watergate stories of the 1970s.
After graduating from Miami Senior High, she attended the University of Maryland, where she earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in political science.
"My first major was medicine, but chemistry killed that," Marquez laughs. "I was always a good writer, so I started looking at journalism."
In 1983 she landed her first reporting job, covering Congress for UPI in Washington D.C. Marquez later worked for the Orlando Sentinel for more than a decade as a reporter, editor, columnist and editorial writer. In 2005, she came to the Miami Herald, where she has served as an assistant city editor, deputy metro editor and columnist.
Through firsthand experience, Marquez has learned how the written word can bring out the best and worst in people.
Once, she wrote a column about two young children living with their grandparents in Orlando. Their mother was in San Juan, Puerto Rico, dying of AIDS. The community rallied, raising enough money to allow the children to visit their mother before she died.
But another time, in response to a column she wrote for the Sentinel about the lack of women in powerful positions, an angry reader mailed Marquez a packet filled with bodily fluids.
"I've gotten a lot of, 'why don't you just go back to Cuba," she said. "Or: 'You were an affirmative action hire.' "
Cuban politics are red hot in Miami in the same way that immigration policies often dominate the discourse in San Diego. As a result, it can be an explosive topic at the Miami Herald. Sometimes, the paper finds itself in the center of the fray.
In 2006, for instance, three Herald reporters were fired after it was discovered they were moonlighting for an anti-Castro propaganda outlet in Cuba funded by the U.S. government.
As for the Herald's editorial position on Cuba, Marquez acknowledges that the paper doesn't go easy on the country.
"The position here reflects more of the diaspora in our area," she said. "We're a little tougher than some newspapers might be on lifting the (trade) embargo."
At the same time, she said, the paper supported President Obama's April decision to loosen travel restrictions, undoing former President Bush's 2004
move allowing Americans to visit relatives on the island just once every three years.
"We thought the Bush administration went too far," she said.
Marquez cites as one of her major influences the writer Anna Quindlen, a former New York Times columnist, best-selling novelist and critic of American materialism.
"She has the capability of seeing through things and being genuinely empathetic," Marquez said. "I think that's a quality we don't show enough of."
Another is her own mother, who divorced Marquez's father not once, but twice. The first divorce occurred when Marquez was 2; the second when she was 12.
"She was able to buy a home as a divorced woman," said Marquez, who is married to Tony Pipitone, an investigative reporter for WKMG-TV in Orlando, with whom she has two young-adult sons. "That was quite an accomplishment in the late '60s and early '70s."
Marquez is well aware that her industry is in turmoil. Still, she believes journalists will have a place in the job market for some time to come.
Asked to impart a little advice to aspiring young journalists, though, and she admits that, in the current environment, clear answers remain elusive.
"I guess the answers are to be curious," she said. "To not devalue yourself. To realize people will always need information, and for democracy to survive, we need an electorate who's informed. There will be jobs for journalists. ... But we have to be learning new skills."
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