Guedes was born in Unión de Reyes, Matanzas. He launched his career in the 1940s on Cuban radio, and later on television. In 1960, he was forced into exile, first to New York and San Juan, Puerto Rico, before settling in Miami, Florida. He and his brother Rafael Álvarez Guedes, together with composer and band leader Ernesto Duarte Brito helped create Gema Records, the first company to help launch the international careers of "El Gran Combo", a Puerto Rican Salsa music group. A friendship united Guedes with the orchestra's director, Rafael Ithier. The company also launched the careers of Elena Burke and Rolando Laserie, among others.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Álvarez Guedes dedicated himself to recording comedy albums and writing comedy books. He routinely expressed his desire for Cuba to return to the way it used to be; such was the occasion when he made one of his famous jokes, involving a TWA flight he supposedly took between Havana and Miami. That route was actually flown by TWA, Pan Am and Cubana before Fidel Castro's rise to power.
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