Elpidio Valdés is his name, and he has been around for five decades. He is a timeless and original creation and is destined to leave an impression on popular culture.
The mambi, independent guerrilla, manigüero*, rebel, first entered the spotlight on August 14th 1970 in the magazine Pionero, in the work of the cartoonist Juan Padrón and has since formed part of the island”s identity with his hundreds of stories told through literature, television and film.
A character as real as the heroes: irreverent and combative.
Always ready to embody the idea of independence and sovereignty from his position as colonel of the Cuban Liberation Army that in the 19th Century confronted Spanish colonialism.
From children through to adults, everyone enjoys his adventures in between laughs and expectations, for originality, Cuban identity and Creole humour.
It has allowed them to penetrate popular culture and to become transformed into part of the island”s cultural heritage.
Produced by the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC), this rebel has inspired three feature films, whose stories cover the death of his father and the start of the War of Independence, his efforts to take a cargo of arms from the United States to Cuba and his adventures during the North American intervention.
From 1974 until 2000, dozens of episodes have been produced in these adventures such as the military train, the convoy against the New York police, the meeting with Palmiche (his horse), his confrontation with the rayadillos*, the history of the machete, the gunboat, the assault of Jutia Dulce, his capture, and his marriage with Maria Silvia, amongst others.
The phrases of his short stories form part of popular Cuban slang, so it is common to hear phrases on the streets, such as “See you dude!” “What hurts you ginger?” “Excuse me, excuse me, the party is over here” The counterintelligence is the counterintelligence girl “or “Sir, grab the machete and to battle”.
Each of the characters from this cartoon highlight his transcendence, and his friends and his enemies equally make Elpidio what he is today; his stories need Maria Silva, his horse Palmiche, the enemy General Resóplez, Pepito, Eutelia, the captain of the counter guerrillas, Media Cara and the inventor Oliverio, Cotico, Fico ….
The voices are an essential aspect, they have been interpreted by Cuban artists Frank González, Tony González, Manuel Marín, Eddy Vidal, María Eugenia García, Irela Bravo, Juan Julio Alfonso, Teresita Rúa and Erdwin Fernández.
After five decades, today Cubans pay homage to the campaign #MuchoMachetePorDarTodavía.
The idea behind this tribute was conceived by the Ministry of Culture, the Cuban Fund of Cultural Capital (FCBC), ICAIC, ICAIC Animation and the La Manigua Cultural and Recreational Centre. The campaign has included the launch of their Facebook and Instagram profiles (@Elpidio ValdésOficial), the publication of stickers with legendary phrases from the series, a website launch with information about each character, local transmission of Elpidio Valdés short films and features and on the 28th of August there will be a “marathon” of broadcasts on national television of the show “Elpidio Valdés canta a Van Van,” by the theatre group “La Colmenita”.
In this vein there will be a webpage with information on the series, its creator, the National Humour and Film Prize laureate, in 2004 and 2008 respectively, Juan Padrón. Considered one of the most successful cartoon producers in the Caribbean nation, where he gave life to unforgettable characters.
Social media users can promote the hashtags #ElpidioValdés, #JuanPadrón, #Elpidio50, #ElPilloManiguero, #LaManigua, #MambíCubano, #MuñesCubanos.
In addition, there will be a book launch for ’50 años de Elpidio Valdés,” which contains over 200 pages of comic strips by the publishing house Sello Collage Ediciones. (PL)
Notes: *Manigüero: thouse who fought in the wars of independence. * Rayadillos (Spanish soldiers wearing a striped uniform.