Newspapers and Magazines
Before You Go
Take all the reading matter you can with you, as there are no newsagents or newsstands in Cuba. The best English-language magazine is the lavishly illustrated U.K.-published Cuba Absolutely (www.cubaabsolutely.com/contact.html), a slick annual that also maintains a superb website. Its near-identical rival is the Canadian-published
Serving investors are CubaNews (P.O. Box 1345, Wheaton, MD 20915, tel. 301/452-1105, www.cubanews.com) and Cuba Trade & Investment News (P.O. Box 13752, Tampa, FL 33681, tel. 813/839-6988, www.cubatradenews.com).
A small selection of international newspapers and carefully selected consumer publications are sold in some tourist hotels. Foreign publications are distributed in Cuba through World Services Publications (5ta Av. #1808, Flores, Havana, tel. 07/273-3066).
Pre-Castro Cuba had a vibrant media sector, with 58 daily newspapers of differing political hues. The Castro government closed them all down. Today domestic media is entirely state controlled and subject to what Maurice Halperin refers to as “the self-righteous and congratulatory monotony of the Cuban propaganda machine.” There is no independent press.
The most important daily—and virtually the sole mouthpiece of international news—is Granma (www.granma.cu), the cheaply produced official outlet of the Communist Party. This eight-page rag focuses on denigrating the United States and profiling socialist victories. (No negatives are reported about domestic affairs; instead, habaneros rely for news on radio bemba, the fast-moving street gossip or grapevine.) Granma is sold on the street but rapidly sells out as many Cubans buy it to use as toilet paper. A weekly edition published in Spanish, English, and French is sold in hotels.
Juventud Rebelde, the evening paper of the Communist Youth League, echoes Granma. Similar mouthpieces include the less easily found Trabajadores (Workers, weekly), Mujeres (a monthly magazine for women), and such arts and culture magazines as Habanera (monthly) and Bohemia (weekly).
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition