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Critical Dialogues in Latinx StudiesA Reader$
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Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas and Mérida M. Rúa

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781479805198

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479805198.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

Guillermo Alvarez Guedes and the Politics of Play in Cuban America

Guillermo Alvarez Guedes and the Politics of Play in Cuban America

(p.266) 20 Guillermo Alvarez Guedes and the Politics of Play in Cuban America
Critical Dialogues in Latinx Studies

Albert Sergio Laguna

NYU Press

This chapter examines the career of Cuban exile comedian Guillermo Alvarez Guedes. Through close analysis of his stand-up albums, I argue for the centrality of comic popular culture at a moment in the history of the exile community rarely discussed in playful terms: the late 1970s and 1980s. The Mariel Boat Crisis, domestic terrorism against alleged Castro sympathizers, and the drug trade in Miami created strife within the community and turned the tide of public opinion against Cuban Americans. Through analysis of comic performances on albums like How to Defend Yourself from the Cubans (1982), this chapter highlights the role of popular culture in pushing back against anti-Cuban narratives in South Florida while simultaneously explaining how a Cuban exile identity was imagined in relation to blackness in Miami. Alvarez Guedes’s comedy about racial politics serves as a unique place to understand the transnational melding of United States and Cuban racial ideologies.

Keywords:   Cuban American, Guillermo Alvarez Guedes, stand-up comedy, Miami, exile community, racial politics

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