Every great civilization, from the Ancient Greeks to the Egyptians, Sumerians, and Norse had their gods, villains, and heroes. These millennia-old stories of love, violence, honor, and betrayal passed people’s beliefs about themselves to subsequent generations. They were altered through incalculable tellings to better fit changing norms and political ends, but the core messages remained.
Andrew Otazo fervently believes that Miami, being a globally unique amalgamation of so many cultures, deserves its own legendary cycle. In his talk, he will read two chapters from The Miami Creation Myth, a book he authored that immerses its readers in a universe with its own, often absurd, deities, rules, and norms—much like the city on which it is based. These modern myths use humor to delve into the wonderful richness, as well as endemic privilege and cultural misunderstandings, prevalent in one of America’s most diverse cities.
Specifically, the chapters will cover this Miami-based universe’s creation and how its different communities were founded and interacted with each other. Before each chapter, Otazo will provide context on the history of Miami that served as the inspiration for the dramatizations found in the book.
About the Speaker
A native Miamian, Andrew Otazo is a Cuban-American author who wrote a book titled The Miami Creation Myth. Andrew currently runs his own communications firm named ARO Communications which specializes in public relations strategy, environmental, social, governance, executive positioning, and earned media. He previously worked at several international public relations agencies.
Andrew served as the executive director of the Cuba Study Group, where he advocated to policymakers on Capitol Hill. He published 17 academic publications that sold over 10,000 copies to the world’s top universities, graduate courses, and corporations while a research associate at the Harvard Business School. Andrew also worked as a researcher at the Harvard Kennedy School and he helped implement U.S. foreign policy at the State Department. As Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s personal assistant, he facilitated the decision-making process of one of the world’s highest-level policymakers. Andrew is a native Spanish speaker and proficient in Portuguese.
Andrew removed 23,000 pounds of trash from South Florida’s mangrove forests and ocean. He carried a 35-pound bag of mangrove trash (currently in History Miami’s permanent collection) the length of the 2019 Miami Marathon and led a team that hauled a 130-pound trash cart throughout the 2020 Miami Marathon. These efforts raised over $30,500 to protect Miami’s coastal habitats.
Andrew was named to Brickell Magazine’s Top 20 Under 40 List, The New Tropic’s Locals to Know, Local 10’s Most Treasured Citizen, Miami’s Next Leader, FAES Latino Leader in Politics, and received two Proclamation from the Village of Key Biscayne.
Andrew has lectured at the Harvard Law School, Columbia Business School, University of Miami, Cornell, Clemson, Miami Dade College, and local South Florida middle and high schools.