Media in cuba

Essay, 2003

15 Pages, Grade: good



1 Introduction

2 Cuba now

3 The role of the media in Cuba

4 The Press in Cuba
4.1 Granma
4.2 Juventud Rebelde

5 Radio in Cuba
5.1 Radio Havana Cuba

6 TV in Cuba
6.1 CubaVision Internacional

7 Independent Journalism

8 Media from outside
8.1 Radio Marti
8.2 TV Marti

9 Conclusion

10 Bibliography

1 Introduction

This essay will analyse the media landscape of one of the last communist countries in this world, Cuba. At the beginning it will give a brief summary of the economic and social situation Cuba finds itself in since the end of aid by the former Soviet Union and due to the fall of communism. The essay will then describe the role of the media in a communist country according to Lenin and Marx, how Cuban journalists arranged themselves to it, and how – if - the quality of journalism can be seen. The essay will then summarise the media landscape in Cuba, divided into the press, radio and TV and have a closer look at examples for every part: It will give an overview of the press and look at Granma, the organ of expression of the Communist Party, and at Juventud Rebelde, a weekly newspaper for the youth. After that, it will analyse the radio market in Cuba, provide an important chart of the number of radio receivers and describe Castro’s propaganda radio station Radio Havana Cuba. The essay will further take a brief look at the less important television market, especially at CubaVision Internacional, broadcasting via satellite around the world. After that, it will analyse independent journalism in Cuba; providing further information about the role of the media, the essay will explain why the situation of independent journalists is one of fear and threats. The final part of the essay will evaluate the propaganda tools of the ‘enemy’, the United States, which are Radio and TV Marti. It will analyse their effectiveness, their history and the role for them in Cuba.

2 Cuba now

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

UNESCO, 2002

Cuba occupies about the same area as England but stretches 1.200 kilometres from one end to the other (Hatchwell, 1995). It is divided into 14 provinces and one special municipality, inhabits 11,224,321 people and has an astonishing literacy rate of 95.7 per cent (CIA, 2002). The leader since the Liberation from the dictatorship of Batista 1959 is Fidel Castro Ruz, who leads Cuba as a communist country: His full title is Commander-in-Chief, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party and President of the Councils of State and Ministers (Hatchwell, 1995). Cuba is currently recovering from an economic crisis following the withdrawal of Soviet subsidiaries (CIA, 2002). Due to the end of communism, from 1992 onwards the former Russian President Yeltsin was more concerned about relations with the United States than about aid for Cuba, which led them into the Special Period, an economic crisis with shortages of everything from fuel to electricity. In 1962, 82 per cent of Cuba’s exports went to socialist countries (Hatchwell, 1995) and between 1989 and 1992 Cuba lost about 70 per cent of its imports and exports due to the changes (Moses, 2000). Cuba has undertaken limited reforms in recent years to increase enterprise efficiency, and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services, but is unlikely to implement extensive changes. One of the reforms mentioned included the introduction of the market, which resulted in 200.000 people being self-employed in 1996; but Cubans are still not allowed to employ other Cubans and the average Cuban’s standard of living remains at a lower level than before the economic depression of the early 1990s (Moses, 2000). Cuba is currently in a process of change into a state of post communism: It opened partly to the global market with accepting foreign currencies, it introduced elements of the market for example in the tourism sector, and showed a general shift to the service sector (Sakwa, 1999).

3 The role of the media in Cuba

The media environment is occupied by the official press, which only puts out material approved by the Department of Revolutionary Guidance (Reporters Without Borders, 2002). Even though all Latin American countries tend towards more and more press freedom - and in Cuba the press is ‘officially’ free - it is, as part of the Marxist-Leninist Model, used as a propaganda tool (Buckman, 1996). The media follows the model, including its tenets of collective propaganda, agitation and organization (Salwen, 1996). Its role in Lenin’s view of a state is a social one: It is there to educate the people with stories of exemplary production techniques, by “inspiring them with stories of industrial success” (McNair, 1996, page 33) and play down crime and the deviant. This is possible because the press is not commercial and does not have to outdo each other with exclusives (McNair, 1996). “We maintain and will continue to maintain that the genuinely free press is that which serves the freedom of the people” (Moses, 2000, page 117), is how Raul Castro explains the Party’s idea of free media. Therefore, the state controls press, radio and TV. National news consists of what the Government is focusing on, whereas the international news merely is about strikes, disaster and corruption (Moses, 2000). Information in Cuba belongs to the public sector and is presented under the constant pressure of economical, political and military siege by Northern American administrations. The defence of the nation takes precedence over all activities, including the journalistic discourse, which is replaced by propaganda about administrative activities and national celebrations. The press in Cuba constructed a second reality; in opposite to the economic crisis it showed a “well-going” country, because they are there to improve socialism, strengthen internal democracy, and deepen people’s confidence in the program of Castro’s revolution (Lorenzo, 1991).

The special viewpoint of the Cuban press can be demonstrated by the reports about the war on Afghanistan, where they tried to show that the United States commit genocide against the Afghan people. The British were not even mentioned and no one seemed to remember the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, which went on for several years and claimed even more victims (Lorenzo, 1991).

Many journalists are poorly trained in investigative journalism and engage in self-censorship (Lorenzo, 1991). The loss of Soviet aid further influenced the media in Cuba: the amount of paper decreased, which led to a decline in newspaper circulation and amount, and due to fuel shortage there was a 35 per cent decrease in broadcasting time (Buckman, 1996).

4 The Press in Cuba

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

UNESCO, 2002


Excerpt out of 15 pages


Media in cuba
Liverpool John Moores University  (Media)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
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467 KB
Quote paper
Torsten Teering (Author), 2003, Media in cuba, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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