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The “tour” of Miami’s popular culture that tourists miss

 Convinced that “to Miami it is difficult to recognize many things”, the Peruvian writer Pedro Medina León undertook the task of summarizing the history of this young city with a paperback book that offers the “tour” that tourists miss.

“There is no tour of the Miami of Bob Marley or the Bee Gees,” says Medina in an interview with Efe while running a finger across the cover of “Tour, a tour of Miami’s popular culture”, whose design it is a supposed plane of the subway that the city does not have, nor will it ever have, to stand on a swamp.

From the businessman Henry M. Flagler (1830-1913), who, according to Medina, “opened the doors of the city to the rest of the country and the whole world,” to the Venezuelans who try to make El Doral the center, the author creates “stops” in “stations” with names like Versace, Tarantino, Al Capone and Muhammad Ali.

It is about 43 short stories that began writing in 2013 for the local newspaper El Nuevo Herald with the obligation not to exceed 700 words.

“I got used to that format,” says Medina (Lima, 1977), a banker who at the end of each day runs to take off his suit to write comfortably.
Also known as one of the “Miamian” authors of the so-called Tropical Noir (tropical black novel), the Peruvian affirms that there is documentation available, only that it must be sought.

“I spent it in public libraries, in the Museum of History of Miami, I read very old books, cardboard cover books and typewritten, English books because there is nothing in Spanish,” he says.

After leaving in September for Suburbano Ediciones, which the author himself directs, Medina has not stopped presenting his “Tour” at American universities and has already managed to have the local label Jitney Books publish it at the beginning of 2019 in English.

With agile and often romantic style, Medina is careful not to leave out the historical data, so that the reader does not believe that the text is fiction. So, drop a scandalous passage of Jim Morrison in Miami in the chronicle “The shortest concert.”

“The beginning of the end of the legendary rock band The Doors started in Coconut Grove,” points out one of the oldest and most bohemian neighborhoods of the city that, also for its exuberant vegetation by the sea, is a must for tourists.

“At that time (1970) Miami was an Anglo, ultraconservative city,” he writes about Morrison’s excesses during a performance, which brought him before the federal county court.

“If Miami were still like that, the reggaeton singers would be sitting in the electric chair,” he says in his chronicle about the rock legend, who shortly after “committed suicide” in Paris, according to Medina.

“There are two key and controversial milestones that open the Miami that we live in now: Colombian drug trafficking and Mariel (massive arrival of Cubans), both in the 80’s. There the Anglo feels that he loses the city,” explains the chronicler, very Separate the “Anglo” world from the Latin American and do it curiously in “Spanglish”.

“The city enters a decadent phase and at the end of the 90s it starts to raise its head with the arrival of people from other countries, and by 2000 we have a very Latin American Miami,” he says.

Except for a brief chronicle on the famous Calle 8 and some notes on the margin, Cubans are not the center of the “Tour”, although the author says that these Caribbean “are the ones who opened the door to the Spanish speaker”.

“The Miami Anglo had The Doors, the Bee Gees, Samuel Beckett, Tennessee Williams, Bob Marley (who died in this city in 1981) and Coconut Grove was an important cultural center, Bob Dylan and all these people came here,” he says. Medina.

However, he thinks that “in Latin American hands that has been lost”.
“I think the Latin American sees this city with disdain, he sees it as frivolous, he does not feel hers after 30 years living here,” he tells Efe.
But the Peruvian is convinced that “Miami is now the capital of Latin America.”

“In literature in Spanish I think it is the most important city in the United States, although it does not have a mastery of creative writing, something that I find very serious,” he stresses.

“Even so, the independent circuit cultivates a very autochthonous literature”, says of this scattered city that before being officially, what it got in 1896, had its center in Fort Dallas, a military building erected at the mouth of the Miami River in 1836, during the Second Seminole War.

Medina, committed to documenting that, like Paris, “Miami also wanted to be a party”, he is absolutely sure that within 15 years the El Arepazo coffee shop (of the Venezuelans) will be the Versailles of the Cubans. “We’re going to read that chapter, there’s no doubt,” he says. (EFEUSA) .-

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