Shetterly, Aran 1970- (Aran R.H. Shetterly)

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Shetterly, Aran 1970- (Aran R.H. Shetterly)

PERSONAL:

Born June 27, 1970, in Brooklyn, ME; married: wife's name Margot Lee. Education: Attended Harvard College; University of Southern Maine, M.A.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Mexico. Office—Editorial Manda, SA de CV, c/o Shetterly, Mex: 11209; 11010 N.W. 30th St., Ste. 104, Miami, FL 33172-5032.

CAREER:

Writer, editor. Inside Mexico magazine, Miami, FL, cofounder.

MEMBER:

Americans Who Tell the Truth (board member), Union of Maine Visual Artists.

WRITINGS:

The Americano: Fighting with Castro for Cuba's Freedom, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Writer and editor Aran Shetterly was born and raised in Brooklyn, Maine. He attended Harvard College and then the University of Southern Maine, where he earned his master's degree in American studies. He spent time living in Cuba and Costa Rica, and due to these experiences he developed an interest in English-language media as it is available in Latin American nations. As he became more curious about the issue, he and his wife, Margot Lee Shetterly, began to investigate the question in earnest. Shetterly knew that there were many English-speaking people living in Mexico—one report they read stated that one million Americans alone made Mexico their home—and yet there seemed to be very little media available that catered to their needs. He saw this as an opportunity to develop something that would fill the gap. The couple decided to move to Mexico and start a publication in English that was geared specifically to English speakers living south of the U.S. border. The result is the magazine Inside Mexico, which offers English-speaking people in Mexico information about the country, the culture, the people, and the geography. Their goal is to make the nation more accessible to people who have already embraced Mexico but are in need of some assistance in really making the place home because of their language barrier. Even those English speakers who know Spanish are still more fluent and more comfortable reading in their native tongue, and so Shetterly provides them with the opportunity to access information without a struggle. He has also chosen to make the publication available for free, which is an unusual stance to take, particularly with a product that did not have any sort of forerunner. In an interview for the Solutions Abroad Web site, Shetterly remarked: "We were often told that the free-model wouldn't be understood in Mexico. Interestingly, right before we launched, Publimetro (a free daily paper handed out) did too. It is helpful to us that the free editorial market is growing in Mexico and that we're entering at a time when this is starting to happen."

In addition to his Mexican venture, Shetterly is a writer and journalist and the author of The Americano: Fighting with Castro for Cuba's Freedom, which was the result of a great deal of research and time spent in Cuba. The book offers Shetterly's take on William Morgan, an American who fought during the cold war in an effort to oust the regime of General Fulgencio Batista at the same time that Fidel Castro was working toward the same goal. At the time both Morgan and Castro were outwardly anti-Marxist, with Castro showing no signs of heavy Communist leanings, and Morgan vocal against Castro only once Batista was gone and Castro took up the Communist mantle. It was unclear at the time whose side Morgan was on, with Castro sure he worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the American media certain he was Castro's man. His efforts against Castro, however, ultimately resulted in his execution. Shetterly provides a somewhat clearer picture of the machinations that occurred at the time and offers readers a look inside a confusing period in history. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews commented that "Shetterly, to his credit, doesn't force the evidence, though he does note, suggestively, that when Trujillo finally buddied up to Fidel, his sole request was that Morgan die." Jay Freedman, writing for Booklist, praised Shetterly for giving profiles of Morgan and others who fought for the ideals of democracy, remarking that he illuminates "the broader tragedy of those who fought for a truly free Cuba and saw their hopes betrayed." A Publishers Weekly reviewer remarked of Shetterly that he knits "together a considerable amount of research … [and] uses his findings to paint an intriguing and nuanced portrait."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 2007, Jay Freeman, review of The Americano: Fighting with Castro for Cuba's Freedom, p. 16.

Hispanic, October, 2007, Victor Cruz-Lugo, review of The Americano, p. 78.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2007, review of The Americano.

Publishers Weekly, June 11, 2007, review of The Americano, p. 50.

Weekend All Things Considered, August 19, 2007, "An Americano Revolutionary in Castro's Cuba."

ONLINE

Algonquin Books,http://www.algonquin.com/ (February 10, 2008), author profile.

Creative Loafing,http://charlotte.creativeloafing.com/ (August 8, 2007), John Grooms, "America's Unknown Cuban Hero."

Fresh Fiction,http://freshfiction.com/ (February 10, 2008), author profile.

NowPublic,http://www.nowpublic.com/ (November 27, 2007), "Spreading the Media Word across the Mexican Border."

Phoenix Online,http://thephoenix.com/ (January 11, 2007), Jeff Inglis, author profile.

Solutions Abroad,http://www2.solutionsabroad.com/ (February 10, 2008), "Expatriates of the Month: Margot and Aran Shetterly."