Robert Arellano will cover the history of Cuba through six decades

Author Robert Arellano will speak at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on Thursday, July 28. (Courtesy of Ezra Marcos)

Robert Arellano has 60 minutes to explain six decades of Cuba’s history.

He’s ready for the challenge.

“I’m not going to try and do it linear,” Arellano says. “I’ll be dipping into every decade at some point. By jumping around and moving back and forth, I’m giving myself more challenges. But it also gives me an opportunity to show how the past relates to the present.”

Arellano will present “Secrets, Spies, and Spanish Rice: Six Decades of the Cuban-American Experience” at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 28 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

The presentation will cover the Cuban Missile Crisis to today.

For many Cubans who fled their country during the Cuban Revolution, the crisis was a point of no return, forcing them to make the most of their new home.

During his presentation, Arellano, an award-winning Cuban American novelist and scholar, will present never-before-seen material alongside readings from “Havana Lunar” and “Havana Libre,” a pair of books from his award-winning Cuban Noir series.

Arellano isn’t worried about spoiling anything.

“What I’m about to tell you during this presentation is going to blow some minds,” he says. “It’s interesting to learn how much the Cuban American experience has defined America. It’s incredible how the second half of the 20th century and the first couple decades of the 21st century has been defined by this peculiar friendship and rivalry and suspicion. This has created a David versus Goliath within the Cuban and American relations.”

Arellano is looking forward to his trip back to New Mexico.

He lived in northern New Mexico when he taught at Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and University of New Mexico-Taos.

“To me, the NHCC has been on the radar of Latinx for some time,” he says. “We have this national beacon and place that supports us and our history. It’s always been a goal and dream for me to do an event there. Having the community so close to me is important. The NHCC is there for us to embrace and explore our history.”

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