The Three Caballeros
Pato Donald's gender ducking

by José Piedra [1]
[open notes in new window]

from Jump Cut, no. 39, June 1994, pp. 72-82, 112
copyright Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, 1994, 2006

"The menace of Nazism and its allied doctrines, its techniques and tactics, must he understood from Hudson Bay to Punto [sic] Arenas. Wherever the motion picture can dc a basic job of spreading the gospel of the Americas' common stake in this struggle, there that job must and shall he done." — John Hay Whitney, Director of the Motion Picture Section of the State Department's Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs under Franklin Delano Roosevelt.[2]

F.D.R.: "Somoza? Isn't that fellow supposed to be a son of a bitch?"
Cordell Hull, F.D.R.'s Secretary of State: "Yes, but he's our son of a bitch." — U.S. legend.[3]

"There's only one SOB in the studio, and that's me." — Walt Disney.[4]


During the first menacing wave of nazism in the 1930s, Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs within the Motion Picture Section of the State Department. Its declared purpose was to "show the truth about the American way" and to that effect hired Hollywood Studios to engender propaganda geared to fulfill the promise of the U.S. Good Neighbor policy (Roosevelt's name for the U.S. Pan-American policy. Black, p. 69).

The unadvertised reason for the U.S. interest had much to do with the commercial exploitation of Latin lands and peoples of the Americas in the wake of a war-torn Europe. Companies such as the United Fruit Company began buying big farms in our Latin American countries, importing alien business practices, producing "raw materials," selling us bad technological progress and processed products, and ultimately exporting labor and money to the United States. This cycle became practically unbreakable as it fostered a federal Latin dependency, bureaucratically centered in Washington. What interests me here are the sexual innuendos behind the well-known U.S. patriarchal fostering of Latin American dependency.

The slogan "the American way" and the notion of "engendering," not to mention the phrase "good neighbor," are loaded with biased libidinal connotations. The "American way" refers to the United States styling itself as the model for Pan-American political unity or, more dramatically, the unifying principle for the American continental unity — which included a rationale for sleeping by or with the "giant of the North."[5] I use the term "engendering" in regard to the propaganda machinery to refer to the colonizers' highly arbitrary assignation of gender to the colonial subject as part of the local Other acquiring international Selfhood. As I will illustrate later on, the colonial propaganda scheme that the U.S. has put in place in the Americas imposes its own simplistic libidinal dialectic. Whoever rose to "the top" represented the male, international, civilized Self ready to conquer, package, and import himself as the savior. Whoever remained at "the bottom" was relegated to being female, local, savage, and Other, someone who had to be made ready to be conquered, packaged, and exported.

Ultimately the U.S., self-styled as a good neighbor, stands as an incestuous padre de familias who, while ostensibly teaching his Pan-American children to forge their own nations, libidinally encourages their dependency. The system even teaches us Latin Americans how to become the "child brides" of the United States. Thus we Latins in and around the U.S. backyard become not only the poor live-in neighbor but the tantalizing girl-next-door — not to mention the fruit-next-door — so dear to the United Fruit Company's heart.

Social and sexual politics, engendering and gendering, brotherhood and paternalism, family and colonial affairs, go hand in hand in transforming the Americas into a falsa-Pan-Americana unit, which led to the construction of Latin Americans as America's Latin "minions." As U.S. minions we can only take a rather hysterical form of action or assume a disposable form of libidinal power. We are recognized as being endowed with a kind of languorous hyposexuality or frantic hypersexuality that does not translate into a productive, but rather into a showy and superfluous kind of libido, be it it receptive or assertive. This sexually united state of affairs renders Latin America into a unit of people dependent on the patriarchal and promiscuous outreach of the United States. If! am right, some forms of colonial homogenization even lead to postcolonial homosexualization.

Throughout this century the U.S. has placed itself at the head of a self-serving propaganda and propagation campaign geared to ensure its libidinal hold on the "American" species — in short, the U.S. is libidinally cloning itself. Sometimes it seems convenient to persuade us Latins to make love, war, or babies, and other times it does not; the same goes for any other crop. Sterilizations, performed on Puerto Ricans, Newyoricans, and Neo-Ricans during the first half of this century, alternate with peace, welfare, and CARE campaigns throughout the Latin continent for the duration of this century.[6] The issue was to make us believe that we needed such a control. Indeed, the balance between crop and love, or genital control, and ultimately between commercial life and death, habitually walks a colonial tightrope between alien imposition and native desire.

A more recent example, the testing and usage of pesticides, proves the point from another angle. In places like Costa Rica, the U.S. export of questionable pesticides allegedly improves crops and proportionally decreases the natives' life expectancy or desire and ability to procreate, while preserving and even enriching the alien testers and users. Warmaking, lovemaking, and moneymaking intertwine colonially, as alien agents continue to have commerce on the love life and deadly wars of Latin peoples of the Américas.

The (in)famous guerrilla movements with which South of the Border nations have come to be associated lead to endemic "coups d'etat"-coopted by the U.S. if the guerrillas opt for a pro-gringo stance. The process of rebelling "for" the United States makes this country condone the institutionalization of guerrilla movements as their surrogate up-and-coming governments. In other words, after doing the dirty work for the gringo, the Latino rebels ostensibly ask for the latter's protection, seduce the powers that be, and/or endorse solutions embedded in a gringo cause. In short, the guerrilla leader becomes the United States' "s.o.b." — no different from those exemplified in the epigraph by the surrogate tyrannies ennacted by Somoza and Disney in the name of American policy and entertainment. Perhaps the worst aspect of such a state of affairs is its hypocrisy: the U.S. fakes (organizationally and orgasmically) being called into action by bitchy South of the Border warriors.

There were even hints early on in the century of a U.S.-sponsored federation that echoed Bolívar's own nineteenth-century dream and which would turn the South of the Borderlands into a federation of providers of raw materials, beginning with fruits and vegetables and expanding to other marketable products. As observed by Bolívar himself, in the epigraph, liberty itself was included as a trade commodity in the American marketplaces, as was life itself and the pursuit of happiness — a lush variant on the French revolution's liberté, egalité, and fraternité. Tacitly, the U.S. take on liberty seems to include a Latin mixture of fun and profit through produce, markets, vacation paradises, gambling casinos, whorehouses, etc..

To that effect the U.S. anti-nazi campaign of the thirties was as good an excuse as any to seek refuge in Latin hands. As a result, the United States posed not just as a model of Pan-American unity but as the butt of Pan-American seduction, serving, at once, as organizational principle and orgasmic hope of the deprived and depraved Latin masses. The U.S. would export itself as a policy construct that would lead the world into a lovingly free, egalitarian, and brotherly tyranny: that of a United States of the Americas.

Consider that the entertainment industry is one ostensibly freed by its relentless pursuit of fiction from a serious commitment to telling the truth about, or pointing out the cynicism of the "American way." It is not surprising, therefore, that such an industry would profit from the hypocritical defense of continental American colonialism dressed up as the U.S. anti-nazism and as a seductive union with Big Brother. Since very early in this century Hollywood, particularly M.G.M., Twentieth-Century Fox, and the Disney Studio, collaborated with the United Fruit Company and other multinationals in putting the finishing touches on the selling of the trans(en)gendering American way to the rest of the Américas.[7]

The history of the Disneying of anti-nazi propaganda in the Americas has been sketched and protested by Walt Disney himself, as well as by George Black in a book cynically titled Good Neighbors.[8] The after-shocks of the U.S. attemp to substitute its own brand of internationalism for a variety of nationalist socialism was tackled by Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart in How to Read Donald Duck, and stressed by David Kunzle's "Introduction to the English Edition" of this book. These remarkable views about the Disney mystique address the libidinal politics that resulted from the anti-nazi and pro-U.S. campaign South of the Border, a topic that is more poignantly discussed in pioneering works by Cynthia Enloe and Julianne Burton.[9] Enloe and Burton, go further than Dorfman and Mattelart in proposing a connection between the U.S. exploitation of Latin American fruits and other produce and what I term the upsurge of Latin American "fruitiness."[10] The Disney model that these critics review is either heterosexual or pansexually masturbatory; homosexual activities are "corrected" by Disney as Latin American deviation from a world norm.[11] To my mind, not all such corrections are in place, successful, or even desirable.

My rereading of Disney Latin American obra maestra prompts me to break the thin line between the intended homnogenization and the subliminal homosexualizing effects of Pan-American policy.[12] Regardless of one's feelings toward homosexuality, one would acknowledge a colonial policy that enacts a curious democratization of genders — some would choose the derogatory term "inversion" of genders. And indeed the sort of homosexuality I am referring to here might he taken to be a "foreign sort of gender inversion," as it tends to homogenize Latin Americans based on what the patriarchal system considers to be the lowest common gender denominator: the infantilized and effeminized figure of the colonized, be it a man or a woman [see Figure 1[.

If there was a concerted U.S. strategy of political and sexual Pan-American "unification," it was condemned to backfire, creating a crew of caricaturesque/ cartoonesque amigos and amigas who proved themselves capable of uncontrollable exchanges with their neighborly Americanos/as. For better or for worse the undeniable power of the Other rests between her/his legs. Perhaps the ultimate irony of such a post-colonial bedding game is that it unifies seduction, rejection, and compliance as power tricks. In spite of the ethical problems of differentiation, seduction, viewed as a unifying force, stands alone in the realm of sexual politics insofar as it hardly distinguishes between its effects (rejection or compliance) or even between its roles — the fucker and the fucked.

Seduction is a surprisingly democratic power base. The seducing agent can place him/herself on either side of the passive/active or receptive/insertive axis; what matters is who exerts the will. Therefore, seduction has little to do with the type of meta-sexual enforcement associated with rape. Only those who willfully accept the relative positions of fucker and fucked share the power of the libidinal union engineered through seduction. This is so in the realm of the personal as well as in the realm of the political. And yet, the illusion remains that someone or some country has seduced another and that the seduction is not mutual or reversible.

The colonial realm, be it social or personal, attempts to preserve the illusion that seduction is a form of empowerment which, even if it comes from the Other, is dictated, or at least manipulated, by the Self. Thus it is surprising that a film media mogul such as Disney proposes the permanent illusion (fiction) of seduction: Latin America making the United States love it (and fuck it) in ways that would be otherwise unnatural to the gringo tradition — not to mention to the Latino/a tradition.

At any rate, Othered libidos — such as our own from South of the Border — are likely capable of reversing the most staunch of North-of-the-Border-imposed gender roles. Whereas socially or politically speaking, the masculine construct of himself "on top" retains a certain power advantage, this is not so in its sexual interpretation. Summing up the situation, fear of ideological or actual nazi invasion condoned, eased, and justified ideologically charged libidinal invasions, including the U.S. being on top of its Latin "charges" or being the victim of electrifyingly Latin libidinal charges. The effect of such a reversible invasion concocts a slow time bomb, whose detonation is shared between invader and invaded (fucker and fucked) — and, according to its after effects, it is hard to tell who is who, who is on top, or who is the hardest hit.

It is up to each of us Pan-American readers to decide to what extent cultural bordercrossing could become gender crossings and transgressive sexual embraces, and whether or not the Pan-American strategy embraced by Hollywood is or is not a good thing for the Latin "natives" and for their "alien" filmmakers.


Wartorn Europe served as a backdrop for an anti-nazi and pro-Pan-American love-thy-neighbor propaganda campaign that gave tacit permission to Hollywood giants such as M.G.M., Twentieth-Century Fox, and the Disney Studio to market the people of the Americas for U.S. entertainment. M.G.M and Twentieth-Century Fox led the way in producing live action films that would uphold U.S. ideological, erotic, and commercial interests. At first such interests converged in a trio of "banana republics" close to the yankee's heart and home. I am referring to the initial U.S. engagement of Spanish-speaking islands of the Caribbean: Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Other countries, most notably Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, as well as "vaguely defined" areas of the Amazon and the Andes, soon followed on the "second-banana" list. However, for a while, the pioneering Caribbean "islands" of Hispanic American culture took a special place in political history and in the film industry as icons of a Pan-American federation, as well as the butt of Pan-American exploitation.

Under the aegis of Latin America's U.S-sponsored technical "innocence," need for money, lack of workers' rights, and gullibility for propaganda, or lack of choice in all of the above, Disney and the United Fruit Conway expanded and "improved" on the Caribbean stereotypes. Disney also counted on animation's creative freedom, apparent sexlessness, and appetite for violence to project caricatured images of the friendly natives South of the Border hitting (on) each other senseless(ly) in order to muster up Uncle Sam's approval. Such caricatures easily transferred into Hollywood's live action films, Madison Avenue propaganda clichés, and the U.S. media's simplistic slogans and jingles still with us today — for instance in the heritage of Chiquita Banana and her spinoffs. While Disney and the rest of Hollywood, Madison Avenue, the U.S. media et al. exploited this continent's "fruity" character, the United Fruit Company took care of our fruits. I would like to speak first of Hollywood's libidinal exploitation of the Caribbean island trio, ostensibly for the adult film-viewing audience, so as to foreground Disney's cartoon strategy, whose subliminal eroticism was ostensibly geared to make children grow more "American."

Films such as MGM's CUBAN LOVE STORY (1932) proposed to package my native island as the Caribbean beachhead of U.S. erotic, industrial, and federal landings, while songs such as "Lamento Borincano," in which the Puerto Rican composer Rafael Hernández laments the conditions of his native island sadly became distorted as premonition for the U.S. welfare policy toward Puerto Rico.[13] At a more specifically libidinal level, Havana was earmarked as a savage enclave, the American capital of romance, escapism, and sexism, and San Juan as a childish society, a sad capital in need of gringo consolation, parenting, and/or espousing. Cuba the noble savage and Puerto Rico the wild child stood as barely different stages in the same gringo caretaking scheme.

To my mind these stages were loaded with gender implications, both the wild child and noble savage stages implying a deliberate "infantilizing," "effeminizing" of "locals." The native population was targeted to become willing victims/ will-less virgins of their alien occupants. And to that effect, the U.S. geared its propaganda machine to transform the Caribbean into a playland of subliminal socio-sexual transvestism leading to a gender-troubled colonial policy. Indeed the parallel simplistic media renditions of Cuba and Puerto Rico furnished excuses for both the social and the sexual occupation of men and women of these islands. The excuses act retrospectively since Puerto Rico, and at least part of Cuba and its constitution, in principle already belonged to the United States and its people had been forced to espouse gringos and their system.

Completing the U.S. picture of the Caribbean was a singularly biased view of the Dominican Republic, which did not seem to need Hollywood films in order to join in the U.S. sponsored unification or exploitation. The island was presided over by Trujillo, who at once went on periodic rampages, killing every Haitian in sight, and paradoxically worked "on his own" on the notion of a Pan-American federation, the League of Nations — apparently leading to the United States of Latin America. As an indirect consequence of such a bloody, second-rate move toward Pan-American unity, the Dominican Republic achieved a high level of dependence, including the export of women to work in the sweatshops and the streets not only of the United States but of Cuba, Puerto Rico, even Haiti. Only in hindsight did the exportation of Cuban women (mostly to Florida's tobacco industries) and of Puerto Rican women (largely to the New York area's garment sweatshops) reach the level of exploitation of Dominicans.

The transformation of social into sexual politics which zeroes in on the offensive treatment of Caribbean women, and of every Caribbean person as an infantilized woman, is very much alive. The Walt Disney Studio magnified the conditions of libidinal dependency to embrace the entire area of the Américas. It created a pretentiously innocent mix of infantilization and feminization with few parallels in international sexual politics. Disney's earlier efforts consisted of puritanical coatings of the Latin powers of seduction through a series of part-film/ part-animation features aimed at the children of the U.S., but subliminally geared toward the innocent parents of these children and to further the not-so-innocent worldwide interest of the patriarchal Uncle Sam. My main interest is THE THREE CABALLEROS, a technically accomplished, ambivalently gendered, sexually provocative, libidinally harassing film.

In THE THREE CABALLEROS, Uncle Walt creates, directly or indirectly, several male and female characters who iconize a highly libidinized and violently transgendered bounty targeted to yield to Uncle Sam. Arguably none of the icons of dependency is more insidiously lasting and damaging than those of Joe Carioca and Carmen Miranda. The former is indeed the full-fledged cartoon product already brought out in an earlier feature of the Disney Studio: a cigar-smoking, eye-rolling Pan-Americano pygmy trapped in the green body of a Brazilian parrot.[14] In spite of his phallic cigar and retractable umbrella, Joe is seductively feminine, even subversively queer, for instance, in his ability to sell his native Bahía and himself with the batting of his eyelashes [see Figure 21].

The female archetypal project was suggested by the Disney Studio but completed by other Hollywood filmmakers: a sometime-cartoon and sometime-actress-in-the-flesh Pan-Americana giantess trapped in the red body of a flaming whore, complete with foot-binding platform shoes and a mind-bending headdress spilling fruits. Carmen, in spite of some exaggerated secondary female characteristics, fruit and all, is decidedly a bitch goddess with ridiculous male-like fits of aggression. The film section of the State Department's blueprint for the Carmen Miranda project proposed to "create 'Pan-Americana,' a noble female figure bearing a torch and a cross, subtly suggesting both the Virgin Mary and the Goddess of Liberty" (Black, p. 69). Indeed Carmen becomes a Latin icon, not just as a virgin and a goddess of liberty but as a show woman and a fruit-laden horn of plenty. As we shall see, other characters, mainly Joe Carioca and Donald, play the Carmen role with its full plethora of transgendered connotations.

The man who would light the torch of Carmen, the freedom-fighting virgin goddess, was not a local fellow but the imported Donald Duck, no glowing image of red-blooded U.S. males. And yet, even this U.S. duck was supposed to he-man enough to pinch Carmen's fruits. Donald's masculinity or lack thereof was not the issue here, for he represented a form of commercial seduction that relied on the subliminal message and the imposition of the will, rather than on the frontal attack or bravado. Furthermore, he replaced Mickey Mouse as the "International Symbol of Good Will" following a 1935 declaration of Trujillo's (U.S.-backed League of American Nations (Dorfman and Mattelart, p. 19). The U.S. torch of liberty in the Américas thus passed from Mickey Mouse to Donald Duck in pursuit of a basket of fruit and a torch singer and torrid dancer with a woman attached — the sort of Latin woman who, in the gringo imagination, makes him give up protectionist politics.

Joe Carioca is sometimes rebaptized Jose Carioca — as in THE THREE CABALLEROS' "companion" book Donald Duck Sees South America.[15] The role of Carmen Miranda is sometimes played by her sister Aurora — as is the case in THE THREE CABALLEROS. Thus, Disney made efforts to Hispanicize and clone the Brazilian stereotypes. This generalization also expands on and crosses over the dialectics of gender and sexual categories. THE THREE CABALLEROS moves from a Carmen-like aggressive cookie vendor/ vedette/ bombshell to more "regressively feminine" Mexican bathing beauties and singing actresses, who tempt and reject or ignore the Donald's "masculinity." From the male regressivity of the parrot perfomer Joe Carioca, the cartoon moves to more "aggressively masculine" characters such as Panchito — the mariachi-dressed cock who tests and denigrates the Donald's "masculinity," and eventually becomes the third of the "gay" caballeros [see Figure 31].

These less-than-ideal images of Latin humanity belong to a line of caricatures of which Disney emerges as a pioneering expert: the subliminally phallus-prone or unnaturally phallic Latin señorita and the unnaturally macho or subliminally sissy Latino. All of them, and some of us, live by someone else's banana policy.


As proposed by the Carmen prototype, Latin American females retained a role combining the model of the feisty whore with the golden heart and the willing virgin with the poisonous passion fruit — as paradoxical platforms of humanitarian activity/ passivity. There is no quality control or assurance of purity in the pursuit of freedom nor in the pursuit of happiness, much less in colonial situations such as the lingering U.S. shadow over Latin America. On the one hand, the iconic U.S. definition of liberty for all points toward an all consuming French-imported Manhattanite virgin, the Statue of Liberty. This French virginal connection pursues Carmen, who, in the film COPACABANA (1947) adopts the part-time persona of bitch (touch-me-not) goddess Mlle. Fifí (Miss Sissi?) in contrast with her own hypersexual persona as Brazilian bombshell (Carmen the "tico-tico" queen of sex).

As she impersonates the French statue, Carmen becomes a parody of a towering, passive-aggressive immigrant bronze diva with a green card and patina who has stuck to the hope and to the memory of so many immigrants like myself regardless of our point of entry into the U.S. We all pass through, without apparently touching, her. The virgin of liberty beckons to her port, signaling the end of the ultimate trip of trips: immigration to the land of the free and carte blanche to consume — some would say prostitute one's "native" ideals as an Other without sharing the Self's bounty. As she plays herself, Carmen becomes a piece of the show, entertaining the U.S. crowds. But she has not only the opportunity to be touched but the power to touch her audiences. After all she is a consumable but still "erect" Chiquita Banana-type of label stuck to U.S.-bound Latino bananas and other fruits — be they male or female in appearance and attitude. As a statuesque and aloof female of French derivation or as a fruity Brazilian populist diva in close contact with the libido of American males, Carmen's razón de ser is as native product in shaky transit to a foreign market.

The U.S. colonial outlook tends to render Latinas, and above all Latinos, as sexually helpless toward their own or, at least, unable to compete with an Americana/o whom they need in order to fulfill their manifest destiny. In short, we need to be brought into the foreign market of gender and sexuality, since we all provide the natural, and even the unnatural, national territory that becomes the target of the international invasion of the libido. A subliminal American fantasy, shared by masculinists and feminists alike, is to pose as the announcer or denouncer of the role of the Latin macho, and to then be forced, because of Latino inadequacy, Latina pressure, and good-old-American guilt, to impersonate that macho role him- or herself. Indeed this American tragedy is also in effect beyond sexual politics. The U.S. military establishment and the peace movements (from the antinuclear to the ecological avant-gardes) prefer to take an active part in designing — or pretending to design — the international macho monster that would require U.S. attention: saving the poor defenseless señorita country which a local competitor is intent on devastating. The saving fantasy is endemic to U.S. Latin American policy. The U.S. is ready to defend us against the local macho — conquistadors, caudillos, guerrilleros, matadors — raping of our women, nature, systems, environment.

Ca. 1992 the long list of Spanish macho monsters converge in the U.S. media's recycling of Columbus as a senseless imperialist macho and genocidal maniac. The alternatives are few, but I can think of at least another type of machos-on-show: the Miami-produced homoerotic calendar Men of Cuba.[16] Let us remember that these unfairly competing Latinos in the world market remain poised against a rather dubious model of red-blooded American maleness, such as the Donald in the role of imperialist duck. Perhaps the ultimate perversion of a feminine-sensitive — rather than feminist — society like the U.S. is translating the guilt of machismo to the South of the Border machos they deride.

The responsibility for the hype about maleness lies with the alien Latin American machos as much as the responsibility for the hype about femaleness lies with the corresponding señoritas. Machos and señoritas made me do "it." Latin machos might be high on the scale of testosterone but low on the totem pole; Latin señoritas might be high on the pedestal but low on the scale of rights. Even our best cock and pussycat cannot compete with a lowly duck Donald or with the mousiest Minnie. And, given the currency of the clichés even among our best-meaning American liberals, I would like to return to the source — nipping, as it were, the Chiquita banana syndrome in the bud.


Carmen's paradoxical genesis as the prize fruit of Latin American womanhood points to an international media tragedy. In an Anglo-Latin scene of conquest, Latinas tend to lose to stereotypical Americano invasions which presumably save these women from the local machos but reaches them for worse. An alien macho will likely take the local's place. An alien señorita will likely do the same. For instance, in my Cuban primal scene, heavily sprinkled with Hollywood shooting stars, Americanos were more dashing than the local macho heroes and Americanas were prettier, faster, and worth more than the local señorita martyrs of tropical desire. This travesty of human exchange across national frontiers of gender and sex increases proportionally with alien bouts of political/ libidinal domination.

It is not surprising for the worldwide history of colonialism to find that U.S. colonizing forces have waged in film an "effeminizing" and "infantilizing" campaign toward Latin Americans, including the United States' own "minority" targets. Indeed the ultimate goal of the good neighbor policy's film propaganda campaign was to homogenize/ homosexualize Latinos/as to the point of making us both palatable for the U.S. appetite and desirous of a Pan-American union at all levels, without any procreative consequences. U.S. media machinery, such as Hollywood, tended to "homoeroticize" us into a corner, or at least it crossdressed and/or crossgendered us, their amigos and their amigas, into a degenerate subservience. What Hollywood was not counting on was that its patriarchal advocates were not homoeroticizing us into a permanent corner, but rather into a transient closet, and that, in turn, their libidinal invasion strategy had an unsuspecting result. In "degenerating" Latins into gender and sexual subservience, they were also creating libidinal monsters who could entice gringos into transgendering or sexually transgressing postures. The Self coming together with the Other spelled gender trouble, under the guise of being a fictional experience limited by cartoon or cartoon-like exchanges as reel rather than real danger.

In Disney's Pan-American fantasy, Latinos and Americanos wanted not only to have but also to be had; while Latinas and Americanas wanted to have, not just to be had. Thus, to a certain extent, the libidinal sphere of the anti-nazi justified a different sort of right-wing politics: a relentless U.S.-centered, colonially inspired Pan-American union that eroticized the cooperation between the U.S. haves and the Latin American have-nots coming into a two-way embrace. The embrace is not always heterosexual. On the contrary, at least in the realm of the reel, U.S. colonial domination is often-times ensured by this country presuming that there are no "real" men or women South of their Border, only Latin targets of the American libido.

In spite of the perilous balancing of genders to suit the colonial fantasy, the colonizers' libidinization of the colonized went hand in hand with a paradoxical process of gender investment that assumed gender-reinventing — some would say gender-reversing. Such a process combined investing the desired target with wild and dependent qualities, a mixture of seductive danger and desire to be hugged, not to mention a daring cross-referencing of maleness and femaleness that, to maximize its titillating effect, would threaten to acquire a life of its own. The process questions the very patriarchal imperialism that it cosmetically upholds — as already suggested by Black, Mattelart, Dorfman, Enloe, and Burton. But the presumably U.S.-male-serving feminization and infantilization of the Other as wild, dependent, colonial subject, retains a fruit-throbbing bitch, a la Carmen et al., as the perfect role model.

Arguably an untraditional problem for the Disney-endorsed, traditional image of the colonizer is that sometimes Carmen is a man, or acts like one. And that man is not always the prototype of the colonized. Sometimes Carmen "Carmenizes" the colonizer, or challenges him with a male-like form of female aggression. Her brand of passive/ passionate core, as well as defensive/ offensive aggression, is likely intended to mock and disarm the imperial Duck. My fantasy is that Carmen remains perfectly capable of her own independent passion and offensive campaign of self-assertion and defies most homosexual panics, at least within the privacy of the (or my own) screening room. Furthermore, maybe Carmen and I do not choose to be reactive, but are instead given no choice by the circumstances in which Hollywood coined, cornered, and filmed her, or the U.S. labels me. Her revenge is seducing me, as one of her many voyeuristic viewers and reviewers, into believing that I am seducing her, or using her as my role model and platform of revenge.

Carmen is the tip of the U.S. trans(en)gendering Latin iceberg. There are other "hot-headed" Latinos and Latinas ready to take over Carmen and melt the Pan-American ice es-capades. But whereas she embodies the virgin/ whore male/ female quota, with surprising ease, her male counterparts remain largely split between two forms of testosterone poisoning: lethargy or hysteria, in the vein of the siesta under the sombrero (mañana syndrome) sort of man and the Speedy Gonzalez prototype of senseless activity. Both choices converge in irremediable impotence (particularly toward conquering outsiders, or even bitchy insiders=-such as Carmen).

For those South of the Border types like me who do not even qualify as senseless practitioners of machismo, the alternative is worse: we might become the hyperactive rivals of, and ineffectual losers to, the imperialistically prone American Dick. Disney actually offers two basic models for the hyperactive-loser types, rendered in the bird language of THE THREE CABALLEROS. On the one hand there is Pablo the Penguin, who is hard-working but cold, slow to catch on (to) and to mate, but easy to catch off guard. On the other hand there is the araquã (araquan), an Amazonian bird whose hysterical persona might have served to shape that of the Mexican mouse Speedy Gonzdlez — who fluctuates between the hyperpassive and the hyperactive mode.[17]

The third "macho" possibility, Panchito the Mexican Cock, who appears toward the end of the film, is not hyperactive, but his male strutting is unconvincing at best.[18] Non-"macho" male Latino activity is reduced to "much ado about nothing," or worse, the tabula rasa of the lánguida y tropical siesta under the sombrero and the "mañana syndrome" with which our "developing" economies — and in turn our "developing" or "third world" culture — have come to be associated.

Thus begins to emerge a Disney world producing a suggestive colonial mix and match of Latino/a and Anglo-american libidos on sale. But let us assess the subversive potential for gender freedom and sexual happiness, centering on Disney's model film for the seductive colonization of Latin America. To begin with, Carmen Miranda sometimes takes a strategically "theatrical" revenge against the consumers of her fruitiness. In THE THREE CABALLEROS, she assaults the Donald, shrinking him with heavy petting into a flattened dot on the pavement — which later "erects" into a standing but cautious and sensitive man. She also emerges as a blue-green cardboard image in a winning Statue of Liberty-like pose, momentarily paralyzing the Donald, who, at least for an instant, becomes an immigrant in need of a home port — thus empathizing with all of those other birds, from the Southernmost Pablo to the Northernmost Panchito dying to travel "upward" — perhaps to emigrate to the U.S..

As liberal whore and the virgin of liberty, Carmen's presence has devastating effects on the male birds. Carmen the woman also triumphs elsewhere: such as at the end of the film COPACABANA, where Groucho Marx (as an exaggerated version of a maleness-ducking American) and the leading man (the proto-macho gangster-manager-producer-owner Italo-American type) succumb to her nightclub "act." Unbeknownst to the nightclub owners she was hired to give a split performance: as a sinuous but virginal, high-class French chanteuse (Mlle. Fifí) and as a hip-twisting and proto-whorish Brazilian samba star (Carmen herself). In the end, this double performer is integrated into a single woman who, half Fifí and half Carmen, wins over the nightclubbing mob — just as in THE THREE CABALLEROS she is street vendor and statuesque diva rolled into one powerful lover girl. Eventually all of the men who come in contact with Carmen are Mirandized to a pulp by this gutsy Franco-Brazilian diva in Hollywood residence [see Figure 4].

The fruitful Latin woman's revenge on her ogling audience is also a feature of her male counterpart. Joe Carioca succeeds in dealing subversively with his Disney-sponsored audience. He Carioquizes Donald to a pulp, at times masculinizing and at times feminizing him, seducing or contaminating at will the self-appointed and all-consuming American Duck. One would think that after THE THREE CAB ALLERO phenomenon was released to the world, Latin American bonding with the U.S. would never be the same, but U.S.-Latin American film games largely remained libidinally repressed by their audiences. Disney's films had a near perfect excuse for just such a repression: his work was ostensibly intended for children.


Arguably for Latin American of my parents' generation, the U.S. of the thirties and forties was, in comparison to the Nazis, a rather progressive invader. My parents and I did not know we had to provide the fruit and to become ourselves the fruits or the hard-working and soft-bodied fruity weavers of the U.S. Loom. I attribute my own initiation into American life and world history, from the platform of a small-town Cuban childhood, precisely to such a U.S. marketing strategy, and iconically to my viewing of the film THE THREE CABALLEROS and my self-conscious humming of the best-selling song, "We are the Three Gay Caballeros." The film and the song made it to my hometown sometime in the late forties — perhaps too late to light the first outbreak of Nazism, but not too late to encourage Cuba to join the U.S. fruit basket or to encourage me to take my first lesson in my Pan-American ideological and sexual education, not to mention gender consciousness. Donald was the first gringo "bird" to invade the national territory of my libido, one of many which, if Castro and my Father are right, mostly bring trouble to the locals.

My memories of the earliest period of the anti-nazi campaign and of personal development remain cartoon and song-and-dance-like images orchestrated by three gay caballeros sanctioned by the Disney label. I was also heterosexually mystified by the blurry sight of bathing beauties lying like half-dressed sardines on the beach in Acapulco onto which Disney torpedoes the barely manly Ugly Duckling of a hero (pantless, feathered, and penisless — but not penniless). The "real" women in the cartoon, however, tease our Duckey of a dick in a sadomasochistic "hide and seek" ritual which ends when the Donald shows signs of enjoying it [see Figure 5]. Who was I rooting for?

Disney scenes and questions relate to other filmed scenes and personal/ social questions. Before the TV monopoly, films were a crucial way to gain an international conscience, and for me, and I suspect many other small-town children, a favorite medium and model to judge a given culture's position in the world order. Films habitually presented such a position in terms of libidinal quotas and gender empathies.

To complete the dizzying Disneying of my conscience, I remember my excitement and subsequent soul/ gender empathy search upon viewing FLYING DOWN TO RIO. In this film blonde female beauties fly over Copacabana beach doing acrobatics on the wing of a ("Pan American"?) plane for a group dominated by foreign and local men at the mercy of these cloud-bound, intrepid performers, who in turn are both at the mercy of a Hollywood producer. The white suits and white skins, the flowery and deflowered women, heat and swaying palms put generalizing ideas into my head. This Hollywood flying-down-to-Rio fantasy could be my own town's and my own: a whitewashed generic land of tropical languor spiked by sex.

Whether the men and/or the women are languorously and/or dangerously laid out on the beach — as in Disney's case — or perilously laid out on the wings of a plane or being an spectator on the side wings — as in Hollywood's case — our imagination had a choice: to play along or to play a trick on the colonial flight of the imagination. And vis-a-vis that colonial choice it hardly mattered whether we acted as women or as men.

The biggest U.S. fear is losing the war of seduction — which remains the ultimate of conquests: to convince someone that she or he should want to he under our control. The fear of losing oneself in that seduction, of losing control of the terms of seduction, overwhelms the U.S. fear of a Latin American sedition to the nazi cause. In fact the politics of seduction feed on that of dependency: as the seduced becomes dependent on the seduction, with the delusion of sharing power in the transitory horizontal equality of the sexual union. Of course Latin America is not the sole seduced — and arguably passified, conquered, and "effeminized"/ "infantilized" — partner. Disney and the rest of the propaganda machine seduce the insiders, the U.S. public at large, into believing that they are "on top" of the world.


THE THREE CABALLEROS is framed as a series of packages sent by an undetermined number of "amigo" birds to their long-distance feathered cousins in the United States. The main amigos, Joe Carioca the Brazilian parrot and plain Panchito the Mexican cock, complete the trio of hot male birds that gives the film its title. To my surprise, the Caribbean is only subliminally alluded to by these model birds who share the generic heat of the Américas South of the U.S. border (and consequently the Hispanic/ Latino immigrant within the U.S. border). The Américas become not only a bird nest of male-bonding but a series of Southern hospitality gifts to Mr. Donald Duck, a much-deserving Northern explorer and defender of birddom or anthropologist and mourner of bird doom.

The sequences of the cartoon unwrap as a repeat voyage of discovery. Donald not only "unwraps" but also "enters" the packages, taking trips which, in a sense, become cyclical forms of repayment. His excuse for the visit is the packaged invitation which is an open-ended icon of the real (or reel) thing: Latin America itself. The Duck interprets such an invitation as a summons to "help out" — at least to service the essential needs of the natives. These seductive needs are coated, sundaelike, in thick sugar syrup with plenty of nuts. Indeed the U.S. has been seeking just such invitations to visit us, solve our misery, share our fun, and stay on terribly long vacations. Just like Columbus, Donald takes four trips that present themselves in increasingly larger packages on the occasion of his birthday, on Friday the 13th.

The U.S. bird's first voyage of discovery, which comes wrapped in a tiny package, contains a Latin American excuse for a film camera demanding to film Pablo, Donald's penguin alter ego, who doubles as the rarest of South American amigos. The film puts Donald in charge of the camera, and thus of the situation, The Duck shows off his skill and simpatico attitude toward his subject matter by building his equipment before our very eyes. He throws the gift reels into the air — to the sound of a tropical percussive melee — and they become a camera, a film, a geopolitical action? Even a duck can become a purveyor of an illusion that goes by the name of technical progress.

The politically repressive, but also libidinally repressed, Duck's curiosity takes him to the southernmost realm of the Aves Rares, which appears as a sign — orally translated into English as "Strange Birds," that is, his Latin American "cousins." Pablo is the target of inquiry, a soul-searching penguin among dumb penguins, who seeks to know the world or, should I say, the U.S. view of the world. After many unsuccessful attempts — marked by his failing traveling machinery — he manages to sail northward, bypassing the ancient Andean civilizations that only show up as colonial postcard types of resorts: Viña del Mar is "carded" instead of its counterpart, the land of the ancient araucanos. A touristy view of Lima and Quito replaces the land of the Incas and the like.

After a touch-and-go side trip to Juan Fernández Island (still run by the ghost of Robinson Crusoe) Pablo arrives in the Galapagos, where he comes to terms in his own way with Darwin's evolutionary theories, The Penguin melts into a vacationland lethargy under his newfound sombrero. He incarnates a feathered missing link with anthropomorphic primate potential as he squeezes the peel of a golden banana into the air, to pop the white pulp into his eager mouth. Donald just provides Pablo with a "technical" opportunity to discover him, or what is the same, the Darwinian animal/ cultural pyramid peaking in grade "A" U.S. culture. Just like Columbus, Cortés, and Pizarro, the Antarctic penguins are like other natives — in the Caribbean, Meso America, and Andean America, respectively — who anticipate the colonizers' arrival by attempting to reach them with all their might. As Pablo fulfills the Darwinian prophecy of the descent of man — or should we say the descent of duck — the film jumps to the next package, which is slightly larger in size, and it should be harder for the audience to swallow.

The second trip, to the Amazon, is packaged in proto-Western mythological wraps. The strings attached take viewers from an Amazon iconized, even in the forties, as the last Euro-American hope to recover the ecological earthly paradise. This pristine forest ready for commerce offers the Donald an anthropologizing ornithologist paradise, a kind of bird predawn of technology, where birds act out as tools — such as the scissor bird. The Latin American post-European myth of this second trip ends up at the heart of South America's own lost pampa. Disney's approximation of this landscape is by way of a winged donkey and his Gauchito (with a wide-eyed cherubic "take-me-take-me" plaintive look) played against a heritage of both Pegasus and Europa being swept away by a bull. This Uruguayan boy prototype and his Euro-mythical beast become an inseparable pair ready to heat the primitive system. They enter a horse race, favorite pastime of these parts, which showcases the natives' cowboy skills at a disadvantage to Euro-American ingenuity.

For the Disney Studio, the second Uruguayan passion must be boys mating with donkeys, something which is suggested at different "cloudy" levels — or literally by the appearance of an ominous cloud where some behind-the-scene activity takes place. Perhaps the top clouded surprise presents Gauchito and his donkey's rump inside a thunderous cloud, from which the presumed horseman, or should I say donkeyman, emerges and coquettishly wonders, "who's the boss?" This love and power struggle is further underlined by another cloud scene, from which Gauchito emerges sheepishly holding the donkey's tail, which the commentator assesses as a "jockeying for position." The odd skills of this Gaucho and his donkey mate win them the jackpot for the race. And yet, the beast displays its wings and thus its own and the Gaucho's winning trick by flirting effeminately with a bird high or a pole.

The third packaged trip opens into a dancing book of "magic realism" manned, as it were, by Joe Carioca, who invites the Donald to Bahia, black capital of Brazil. However, Joe's throbbing book's Bahia is not Afro-Brazilian as it should be, but a red blob of white paired items — ranging from palm trees to love birds, to boats, to a candy-selling, swaying woman (Carmen complete with a modest turban — sîm furitas — and make-up that makes her look like Annette Funicello in the Mickey Mouse Club) accompanied by minstreling chorus boys (looking like Franco-American gay-hip gondolieri in straw hats, striped T-shirts, and tight toreador pants). Evidently Brazilian humanity is too much for a mere secondhand view of the scene through cartoons or a single country.

The multinational Brazilian loving, music, and dancing are thick as molasses and transparent as a transgendered message. Joe seduces Donald into a slow samba [see Figure 4]. The tropic neither separates the boys from the girls, nor does it unite them, but it rather hyperfeminizes and hypermasculinizes seemingly at random. Dangerously (en)gendered super-women/ fruits like Carmen and supermen/ birds, like the speeded-up araquan bird, succeed in derailing the samba and the train trips to the hot heart of Bahia. The former does it by Carmenizing, i.e. transgendering, everyone in sight to her canned-samba beat; the latter, by literally drawing away the rail lines (again in a so-so Disney proto-sample of "magic realism" and a novel view of the commercial Latino Boom). Eventually Brazil drowns its in a testoteroned travesty of sisterhood (under the aegis of male imitations of the image of Carmen many times multiplied). This leads Donald to have a hot and humid dream lubricated by Joe Carioca's and his own Carmen impersonations.

Once again, the transient softening effect of the feminized tropics is counteracted by the equally transient hardening of Latino men dancing/ fighting as cocks engaged in capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian martial art. The transnational, transgendered, even transsexual, phantasy book finally closes on them, even though Joe manages to pull Donald away by his tail. Donald has been squashed into a little sailor hat with legs (which mimics the dreamy siesta under the sombrero), but he manages to erect himself back into full-blooded American duckhood. At this point he has an image crisis: the animated film has him splitting into a kaleidoscope of amigo, and less than amigo, personae.

The fourth voyage comes packaged in an enormous box that yields a three-cornered piñata and eventually a tour of Mexico guided by Panchito, dressed as a charro cock who sweeps the other birds into a magic serape trip/ trick. Donald remains a somewhat frustrated voyeur of what is given as Mexico's main sights — all of them mestizo feasts with a colonial bias: native beaches, dances, Christmas traditions and nightlife. Mexicans, rendered as kitschy divas, do their coquettish folklore, hacked by pusillanimous male accompaniment. The American hero gets into the act only as he circles Acapulco, armed with a retractable telescope that bristles at the sight of a seductively pale bunch of sun-screened señoritas. He dives into the scene and plays along with the Mexicanas' sadomasochistic game, until the the señoritas run away. The "wolf in duck's clothing," proclaimed by the film, is challenged by a woman daring him, in untranslated Mexican-accented Spanish: "ándale, patito, ven!" (dare, patito — sissy?—come!) In the Caribbean and elswhere "pato" implies "gay" and/or "sissy."

Finally Mexico offers him the romantically threatening female heads of star flowers and all sorts of love-me/ love-me-not petals scattered at his feet and ready to make him slip — as if these petals were the peels of Carmen's bananas, or the wrappers of homemade candies sold on the pulsating streets of Bahia. Donald eventually becomes one of the flowers and tries to kiss, in lesbian fury, one of the real ladies' corollas, to no avail [see Figure 1]. The flowers transform themselves into female cacti, whose lead is a charita (echo of Panchito). Panchita, as I have come to call her, whips Donald into final submission.[19] And he likes it [see Figure 5]. Donald then plays the bull — a paper bull at that — in an improvised corrida where Joe Carioca and Panchito take turns playing the killing matador and the pricking banderillero. Donald gets it from both ends, and again he likes it — after all, Uncle Walt is looking over his shoulder, and ours.

As observed by Julianne Burton, Donald's bullfighting scene represents a kind of outpouring of traditional macho behavior aimed to counteract any lingering interpretation of his amigo-bonding as amorous advances (Burton, pp. 35-36). What I would consider Donald's hypermacho "homosexual panic" is counteracted by Panchito's "ironic voice-over," to the tune of: "like brother to brother/ we're all for each other" (Burton, p. 36). This slogan contrasts with the earlier climax of the gay caballero's song: "friends though we may be / When some Latin baby / Says yes, no or maybe / Each man is or himself" (quoted by Burton, p.22). In the Pan-American pursuit of a "united states of being," Donald has thrown all caution to the wind; he has become one of/with us Latin birds, perhaps a subversive pájaro in his own right.


In fact Donald Duck did discover América, an America written and pronounced with a specific diacritical mark and pronounced with some sort of an accent, a subversively gendered and sexed accent. Through a series of well-packaged voyages, the magic of Disney presents us like children to a childlike world of unity and progress in which men are less than men and women are more than women. The packaging of the voyages is clever: it almost fooled me into believing that I was among the Latinos who had contributed something to the continental mass of the forever-new New World. I am referring to the packages sent by my fellow birds to that plastic Duck of the North, which contained — as you might recall:

  1. A tiny box from which emerges a rhythmically improvised Latino ingenuity which lends an improvisatory hand to Donald's film equipment, and through which we witness a penguin version of a cold-blooded land South of the Border.
  2. A medium-sized box from which emerges a mythical Pegasus/ Europa's bull, folklorized, updated, and rendered into a shrew, that is, a flying donkey whose gaucho partner hides his wings.
  3. The next-size-up box turns out to be a three-dimensional book complete with a crooning Brazilian parrot with a proto-Speedy-González sidekick who leads a song-and-dance Brazilian tour.
  4. The biggest of the boxes reveals a three-cornered piñata which breaks to reveal a Pandora's box of seaside beauties, religious folklore, flowering paradises, and electrified Latino performances.

The seduction of the gifts eventually threatens the gender and sexual core of the ducking voyager with "United States" in mind. The four Columbian voyages of discovery retold by Disney transform the Donald. Such gift-wrapped voyages, like Columbus's own, might confuse an audience of children and naive buyers but challenge an adult audience with a desire for transatlantic exchanges. In the first trip the Duck plays the hot bird to the cold-blooded penguins at the edge of "progress." In the second, he learns a new Latino trick in male bonding and love of animals at the euro-mythical edge of the pampas. In the third, Donald dances with a "wolf" or two in parrot clothing, succumbing to the transgendered word and world of the Brazilian wild. By the end of the fourth and final trip, the caballeros gaily impersonate Pan-American unity.

The film ends with an orgasmic Pan-American night of fireworks, enjoyed in unison by the bird trio. Joe the parrot and Panchito the cock cozy up to the middle man, Donald the duck, who is dressed up as a madonna in a serape. Disney's pietá is superficially convincing and profoundly pitiful, but a faithful representation of the transgendering effects of mixing apples and oranges, Latinos/as and Americano/as, in a Christian communion of commercial proportions and surprising gender disruption and libidinal eruption. Indeed the Donald has survived a Pan-American war of gender, sex, and fireworks, nothing quite comparable to World War II or, for that matter, World War III.


"Oh no, Donald, don't do that!"
— Joe Carioca, in THE THREE CABALLEROS, after receiving a warm abrazo and kiss on the cheek. [See figure 6]

"Mister, don't eat the bananas."
— Lyrics of a Cuban-American song composed and sung by Chirino.


Besides Christopher Columbus's New World voyages aboard the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, I retain Walt's twentieth-century voyages of discovery aboard THE THREE CABALLEROS as a controversial model of my own exile and critical "arrival" on the U.S. academic scene. The very impurity and injustices of these voyages provide motivation and justification, but also consolation and compromise, for my own modestly transcultural, transgendered, and transexual "revenge" on the Western discourse and Made-in-the-U.S. macho image both of which I am marginally a part. What I hope with my critical "banana boat song" is not necessarily to prevent — or, for that matter, to encourage — any Mister's touching of my people's bananas (elaborating on Chirino's lyrics in the epigraph), but to use to Latin American advantage whatever the Donald did, unconsciously or wickedly, in the name of a U.S. brand of liberation. I could even add to the Donald's own U.S.-manipulated hope for us my own discreet postcolonial traces of libidinal freedom. I wish the Donald's and my own literary "nephews" would listen, pick up, and open up the subliminal meaning of a true Pan-American union and relative freedom for all. Perhaps the reading public should take their own cruise of discovery in that most unusual of love boats:

"I shall leave this letter on a twig, hoping that it will be seen and picked up by some passing riverboat. Now I shall beat my way out of here across the swamps and brush. Nothing will stop me till I reach civilization."

"Good-by (I am running out of berry juice), Your Uncle Donald." (Palmer, p. 108)


1. This article has a more "personal" companion piece, "Donald Duck Discovers the Americas," to appear in Portuguese translation in the journal Lusitania. I1 am grateful to Kate Bloodgood for her editorial and contextual comments on both articles.

2. George Black. The Good Neighbor: How the United States Wrote the History of Central America and the Caribbean. New York: Pantheon Books, 1988, p. 69.

3. Somoza refers to Anastasio, Nicaragua's dictator. See Black, 71.

4. Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart. How to Read Donald Duck. Imperialist Ideology of the Disney Comic. David Kunzle, trans. New York: International General, 1971, p.3.

5. As José Martí and other Latin American freedom fighters have called the U.S.

6. For a film view of this sterilization campaign, consult Ana María García's LA OPERACIÓN (1980) which documents the position of Puerto Rican leaders, such as Rubén Berrio and Juan Marí Bras, before the United Nations' inquiry into U.S-sponsored Caribbean sterilization. I am grateful to Margarita Ostolaza Bey for this information.

7. The book Conquest of the Tropics, published by Doubleday in 1914, is a good documentary source to study the U.S. commercial bananization/ banalization of Latin America.

8. For Disney's own politics, first pro-Hitler and then anti-nazi, including his wartime propaganda films, such as VICTORY THROUGH AIR POWER, see David Kunzle's introduction to How to Read Donald Duck, pp. 11-21. See note 2 for the publication information on Good Neighbor — I am grateful to Ofelia Ferrán for bringing this book to my attention.

9. For a background on this subject consult the following texts. Cynthia Enloe, Bananas, Beaches and Bases, Making Feminist Sense of International Politics, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California, 1990. Julianne Burton, "Don (Juanito) Duck and the Imperial-Patriarchal Unconscious: Disney Studios, the Good Neighbor Policy, and the Packaging of Latin America," in Nationalisms and Sexualities. Eds. Andrew Parker, Mary Russo, Doris Sommer and Patricia Yager, New York: Routledge, 1992, pp. 22-41. Ana M. López, "Are All Latins from Manhattan? Hollywood, Ethnography, and Cultural Colonialism," in Lester D. Friedman, ed., Unspeakable Images: Ethnicity and the American Cinema, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991, pp. 404-424.

10. When Kunzle quotes from the reaction to Disney's forties features by a contemporary as "gay dreams of holocaust," he gives the term "gay" its present-day homosexual overtones (See Dorfman and Mattelart, p. 19, and Richard Shickle's The Disney Version: The Life, Times, Art and Commerce of Walt Disney, 1968, p. 233). I would agree with his veiled suggestion of the connection between Disney's tongue-in-cheek view of international doom and a free-for-all Latin American wave of love, including homosexuality. Indeed homosexuality becomes attached to the notion of dubious entertainment and valid escape valve in times of a world-wide holocaust,

11. Dorfman and Mattelart argue Disney's subliminal pansexual masturbatory fantasy disguised as an asexual world policed by the Salvation Army, in Chapter I of their work, entitled "Uncle, Buy me a Contraceptive," pp. 33-40 — see particularly pp. 38-39

12. Burton hersef, p. 23, sets the tone to study the homosexual undertone: "THE THREE CABALLEROS…indulges its audience in scenes of cross-dressing and cross-species coupling, of latant sexual punning and predation." [See figure 6]

13. There are records of national protests against such films. See Burton, p. 23, who refers to Allen L. Woll, The Latin Image in American Film (Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center, 1980)

14. Joe Carioca made brief appearances earlier on, in SOUTH OF THE BORDER WITH DISNEY (1941) and SALUDOS AMIGOS! (1943).

15. A book written by H. Marion Palmer and illustrated by The Walt Disney Studio. Boston: D. C. Heath and Company. 1945. I thank Amalia Gladhart for bringing this book to my attention.

16. Miami: Pretty Boy Publishing Co., 1991.

17. Burton, p.37, finds a "Miranda-esque" quality in the araquan bird's "song."

18. I grew up addressing male genitalia as "Panchito" — no other same-age native informants from my hometown were available forn comment.

19. See, as added evidence of the transgendering, Burton's comments on the dance of the phallic cacti, p. 34.