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Cuba Free Press

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Cuba Free Press

The first newspaper was the Gaceta de la Habana in 1782 followed by Papel periódico about eight years later. In the Cuban province the first newspapers to be published daily was El Espejo of Puerto Príncipe from the year 1812.


The most important newspaper in the 19th century was the Diario de la Marina, the second one La Discusión. In the 1920s, the Heraldo de Cuba newspaper was the first in circulation. In the 1935-1958 periods under the governments of Machado and Batista, newspapers were subsidized. Through a financial participation, the regimes muzzle the press. Much space was provided for many of state’s advertisement like government jobs, advertisements and edicts. In this era, many pro- governmental journalists were paid from governmental funds.

In the year 1956, in Batista period presidency, 56 newspapers were in imprint. Only six to eight met their expenses through sales and advertisements, 33 were published in Havana. Prensa Libre and The Times of Havana were the only unsubsidized newspapers.

After the 1959 revolution, Batistano’s newspapers owned by private middle class Cubans were expropriated by the state while others could not continue to work as they had financial constraints and were no longer subsidized. There was also a decline in the inflow of funds due to the decrease or nonexistence of advertising in communist Cuba. Along roads, only billboards supporting the government ideology were seen. The change from a capitalist to communist Cuba was not without drawbacks. In 1960, a state decree limited the American-sized Cuban newspapers pages to control press. 16 pages on weekdays and 24 on Sundays were allowed to be printed.

Furthermore, newspapers were on bad quality newsprint made of ‘bagasse’.

The last commercial and independent organ of the press was Información appeared in december in 1960. La Quincena, a magazine supported by the Cuban parish in 1961was closed down. By 1965, the surviving newspapers of the revolution, all semi-official ones, the Revolución, La Calle, El Combate, El Mundo and the Partido Socialista Popular's Hoy all disappeared and with the Partido Comunista de Cuba, Granma, Juventud rebelde became the only national dailies in Cuba.


There were also local provincial dailies but in six years, since 1959, the diversity and number of the newspapers had diminished drastically as well as its quality and standards. The Cuban newspapers suffered a lot with the emigration of independent analysts escaping the repressive Cuban regime too. From 1960 to 1970, the communist regime stabilized the apparatus.


 The Prensa Latina Agencia de Informacion Nacional was installed to monitor newsworthiness, censorship and the release of information to the different media channels. From 1970 onwards the sole objective of newspapers and media were to develop the Cubans both economically ad culturally. With Castro open alignment with the Marxist Leninist ideology, the function of the newspapers changed. Newspapers were used to shape and indoctrinate the mass and attain the communist party goals.


The media together with the newspapers were used by the state’s news agencies to disseminate their ideology and orient their policies. The function of the media and newspapers were to educate and inform. Its prior function, to entertain people, was overridden. The priority of the media and the newspapers were to secure the support of mass, promote homogeneity in population where there would be neither the ‘exploited’ or the ‘exploiter’.

Today, there are Cubans who still don’t accept the state control and dissemination of information while others ignore the propagandistic manifestations of the Cuban regime.





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