The Mask of Arriero

February 20th, 2011

For thirty five years, Juan Valdez, the iconic coffee muleteer, has been played by the same man. The man’s real name, however, is of no importance, for when you don the moustache and the straw hat, your previous life ceases to exist. Since 1969, the charming, inimitable Juan Valdez travelled the world with his mule Conchita, spreading the message of freedom and refinement that his coffee had come to represent. But in 2006, the time had come to find a successor. Carlos Casteneda, a thief and adventurer was selected by Juan Valdez to become his protege and was subjected to the hero’s tough training regimen. In an cave, Valdez taught Casteneda how to defend himself, how to use a whip and a sword, presumably to whip and stab the evil Spanish from invading the coffee fields. As the story goes, Casteneda fell in love with Valdez’s estranged daughter, Elena, and just before the original Valdez died, he passed the mantle of Valdez onto Casteneda and gave his blessing for Casteneda’s and Elena’s prospective marriage.

Juan Valdez, old and new.

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