HBO Max’s four-part docuseries ‘Menudo: Forever Young’ focuses on the boy band’s origins in Puerto Rico and its increase in fame worldwide over time. Edgardo Diaz, the creator and manager of the group, had a constantly changing line-up to ensure Menudo maintained a certain youthfulness. However, over time, several allegations of sexual abuse have been made against him. Bolivar Arellano, a photojournalist, was one of the first to kick off the controversy by going public with the accusations. So, if you’re curious to learn more about Bolivar, you’ve come to the right place.
Who is Bolivar Arellano?
Bolivar Arellano was born in September 1944 in a small farming town in Ecuador. He worked as a photojournalist there before political unrest led him to move to the United States. Bolivar felt his life was under threat at the time due to his coverage of protests and rallies in Ecuador. Fearing he would be kidnapped by the government and killed, Bolivar chose to move to the US in 1971.
While in the United States, Bolivar’s first brush with Menudo came in 1983 when he was asked to cover the band’s arrival in New York for the first time. He was married to Brunilda, a freelance photographer who also shared the assignment. Bolivar saw the fans clamoring to see the band, and later, he made quite a bit of money selling those photographs. This gave him the idea to set up a Menudo merchandising store in Manhattan, New York, along with his wife.
As a result, the store Menuditis was established and became a huge success. As per the show, Bolivar even traveled with the band many times and would have former members show up at the store for photos and autographs. But by mid-1991, Bolivar’s explosive allegations shook the music world. He appeared on a talk show hosted by Carmen Jovet to talk about what he claimed to have known about the abuse back then.
Bolivar said that Menudo’s members were given alcohol and drugs in addition to being sexually abused. In the docuseries, footage from the 1991 show has Bolivar saying Edgardo wanted to assault one of the band members sexually. He added that the boy was able to escape by knocking on different hotel doors until another boy let him in. According to Bolivar, someone working with the band once walked in on Edgardo allegedly having sex with one of the boys.
Where is Bolivar Arellano Today?
It was stated on the show that Bolivar Arellano was eventually found guilty of defamation. But his accusations were followed by multiple other former band members alleging sexual abuse. As a photojournalist, Bolivar has compiled an enviable body of work. During his time with the Associated Press, he covered war zones. After several years with them, Bolivar worked for the New York Post. During the 1980s, he covered the civil war in El Salvador and, later on, the Nicaraguan conflict. During that period, Bolivar was even kidnapped by the rebel militia.
Apart from that, Bolivar covered Guatemala’s Civil War and the World Trade Center attack in 2001. However, what he witnessed during the 9/11 attack caused much pain later. Bolivar recalled, “The images of the tragedy would repeat constantly in my mind. I recognized what I’d experienced, and I unhinged, mourning in tears. I insisted that no one know how bad I was emotionally, and I tried to ignore reality. I’m sure, though, that I haven’t been the same since,” he said as he looked away.”
About four years after the attack, Bolivar finally relented and sought therapy. He retired from the New York Post in 2004, after working for the newspaper for three decades. Today, he still lives in New York with his wife, Brunilda. Bolivar is a loving father to a daughter and a son, in addition to being a grandfather. He is active on social media, regularly sharing his past photography. Furthermore, Bolivar’s work was featured in a photography exhibit at Columbia University, New York, a few years ago.
Read More: Where is Edgardo Diaz Now?