Publicado: Tue, 23 Jun, 2015

Cuba was a country of newspapers and free magazines

This entry is also avaliable in: Spanish

IMG_0412 Havana. It can be undoubtedly said that Cuba enjoyed a true press for over hundred seventy six years. Starting from 1959, with the beginning of the Castro dictatorship, Fidel Castro decided to reduce to the maximum his massive media, to control them better through his ruling team and to dedicate them entirely as propaganda of his regime.

That year, for the first time in their history, Cuba stopped to be a country of newspapers and free magazines. Today, those who question the government’s inefficacy, don’t have voice in none of the few journalistic means.

On November 22, 1782, when the Cuban population hardly reached the 172 thousand 620 inhabitants, according to data of the National Archive,, the first two Cuban newspapers were founded: La Gazeta de la Habana, and El Pensador.

Starting from then, the newspapers and the magazines proliferate and the development of the printing house began. Also at that time, thanks to the free trade that existed among Havana and the North American ports, an economic progressive peak was observed.

However, according to investigations of the Institute of Literature and Linguistics it was not until October 24, 1790 that Cuba had a press organ considered of great value, which arrived until the XIX century: the Papel Periódico de la Habana. There, all was published through aliases or low anonimity, something usual for the time. Their authors, true representatives of the Creole bourgeoisie in ascent, were Tomás Romay, José Agustín Caballero, Manuel de Zequeira and many others.

In this same journal, Doctor Julio Le Riverend makes us know that in that press, it was not only reflected the economy of the time, but also the cultural atmosphere that began to flourish in the capital, as a consequence of the Carlos III politics.

For that date and in spite of the fact that the island still had a scanty population, there was a true explosion of newspapers and magazines in the capital and in the rest of the provinces, true jewels of our cultural patrimony, something that demonstrated the economic growth of the country.

It can even be said that, with their ups and downs, since the Spanish government approved or disapproved laws of printing freedom according to the occasion, some press means appeared to call attention for their names and for their veiled attacks to the colonial regime.

These newspapers were Robespierre Habanero, El Regañón de la Habana, El Tío Bartolo and the Sabelo Todo Habanero.
It is good to point out that in 1846, from the pages of a journal from Matanzas, Cirilo Villaverde we knew that ¨ the dawn of 1830 appeared and the memorable periodistic era for Cuba was opened¨. They referred to the labor press, with the weekly publication La Aurora -1865-1868 – that tried on labor matters, related with the tobacco workers and others. Also to the Cuban press, born in United States, the one that could play a very important role in the plans of freeing Cuba of the Spanish yoke. Their main exponent was Patria, been founded in 1892 by our Apostle.

For that date, the poet Julián del Casal, under the alias of The Count of Camors, member of the Writing Staff of the Elegant Havana, used his excellent chronicles to criticize the command of the highest rank officials from Spain, sometimes in a veiled way and others in a more open way, what caused him to be fired from his employment.

To finish, it is good to point out that the liberal diverse movements of 1800 facilitated the freedom of speech and thought, when putting on in validity the liberal constitution by decreeing the freedom of printing. It is for that reason that 1812 marked the development of a series of political publications that continued growing up to 1959, when all the printings of the country fell in hands of the Castro dictatorship and Cuba stopped to be a country of newspapers and free magazines.

Santa Fe, May 2015

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