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Eleazar Delgado has spent over a third of his life in Miami, it took him a third move to South Florida to establish himself for good in what at one point was exile heaven, born in Oklahoma from Venezuelan parents, raised in Caracas, Eli as many know him, is one of those rarities in the Miami tourism industry. Philosopher, storyteller, amateur sociologist, just the type of streetwise intellectual that many seek when it comes to tour-share the city.
“My first trip to Miami was in the summer of 1972, it was like visiting the Jetsons” for him it was all new and futuristic, but tourism and explorations were not new to him, his family took pride in showing Eleazar their native country Venezuela, so his childhood was filled with road trips, boat trips and obviously plane trips. His father was a mechanical engineer with a passion for plane design and adventure, so before taking the “kids” out of the country he wanted them to know their own scenery, geography and history, mind you that this family had ties to historians, scientists, musicians, politicians, and as Eli told me, it was required to read the newspapers before sitting at the table for dinner, so imagine the dissertations for “sobremesa” a traditional conversation after a meal.
Eleazar’s professional background is in architecture, interior design and the arts, so for him to transition into “tour guide” was not a difficult task, having traveled himself to over 20 countries, he found Miami ready for him to share his insights about his last stop, “Miami was so familiar and so unknown when I moved here back in 2007 after running from communism in Venezuela” it took him a while to settle down, but one important undertaking he made his goal was to know the town he had chosen as his refuge, so he did his homework, he read everything he could get his hands on and launched his view of the city on his first art show called “Behind the Lights” a series of paintings based on Miami founders and as he explains, he wanted to show what is really behind our Miami lights, he felt in love with Miami’s rich and eccentric past, he also became aware of the different connections the city has with many cultures familiar to him, “we can’t separate Miami’s history from our Spaniard, Moorish, Native American and American history, we are really a melting pot, wave after wave of immigrants, settlers (homesteaders) and investors have made, Miami’s founder, Julia Tuttle’s dream come true “ I see a Metropolis growing out of the mangroves” and here we are 123 years later.
Eleazar Delgado says “My tours are about contextualizing your experience in town” he takes time explaining the reasons behind every historical fact, “that was how I learned history as a pre-teen, we can’t understand history without politics and current events” so he talks about zoning codes and regulations, which would be the present and future and ties it in to how the city evolves around the old and the new.
“I was one of those that saw Miami just as a mall and one highway after the other” then he learned who lived here and why. In the past two years Eleazar has joined The Art Experiences with Susana Baker and he tours, curates and shares his passion about Miami, in Little Havana, as many say, a Venezuelan touring Cuban history, but for him it’s like telling bits and pieces of his own Venezuelan history. Eli had his studio in Wynwood at one point, and the new Design District, with its plethora of new buildings ready for the future “Many tourists finish the tours in awe” “OMG I didn’t know Miami had that much and rich history” “as I told someone on the 500th years anniversary of the landing of Colon in the Americas, we have language to share history and stories, we just need the will to learn about them”
ELEAZAR DELGADO can be reached at 305-546-0861 or you can email him at [email protected]
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