UNA REVISTA AL SERVICIO DE LA NACIN: BOHEMIA AND THE EVOLUTION OF CUBAN JOURNALISM (1908 1960) By RICHARD DENIS A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2016
2016 Richard Denis
To my parents, Elio and Oilda Denis, for their unconditional love and support, and for instilling in me a love of patria at a young age. The memory of them and their sacrifice burns bright in their children and grandchildren.
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This work is the result of a lifetime of curiosity about the world my parents were born into, and I want to thank them, Elio and Oilda Denis, for instilling in me a sense of the love and devotion they had for their beloved homeland, their patria I take so me solace in the thought that perhaps their physical absence in this world is mitigated by their spiritual reunion with the country they had to leave. Their countless sacrifices are not forgotten. My advisor Professor Lillian Guerra deserves much of the cr edit for helping guide me into shaping this work into its current form. Her vast and profound understanding of twentieth century Cuba has always amazed and impressed upon me the importance of working harder to understand Cuban history from as many differen t perspectives as possible, considering the diverse range of voi c es that deserve to be heard and represented to give a more nuanced interpretation to the complex history that characterized Cuba before the triumph of the Revolution. I am indebted to Profess or Sherry Johnson for mentoring and encouraging me to pursue what I have always loved and for helping to light up my path to graduate school at the University of Florida. I am also indebted to Professor Rosana Resende who was generous and selfless with her time and gave me invaluable feedback even though her own schedule was hectic and demanding. There are people that provide support and encouragement throughout a process as laborious as writing a thesis that sometimes do not realize how instrumental they h ave been in helping to bring a project such as this to fruition. I could not have completed this work without the support of Joseph Knapich: his love and encouragement through some very hard times and doubts kept me believing in the merit and the importanc e of this project. My sister Sonia and brother Elio have always encouraged me to pursue the things that I love, and have served as a second set of parents to me. I appreciate their unconditional love and support more than they
5 probably know and see in thei r children, my niece and nephews, Julia, Tyler, Ryan and Connor the next generation of Cuban Americans that may one day be inspired to interpret for themselves a Cuba that is often misunderstood and characterized in stark and often reductionist terms. I al so want to thank my many rocks of support: Mariana Ferro, Amy Alonso, Alex Brod, Daniel and Ana Palacio, Rose Perera, Robert Rionda, Michelle Gonzalez, Cindy and Ana Rodriguez, Michael Bhagwandin, Ada Rodriguez, and my wonderful godparents Rey and Juana Fl ores I am grateful for their constant support and encouragement. Their friendship has often carried me through trying times. Their faith in this work helped fortify my own determination to complete it.
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 4 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 9 ........ 9 A Look at the Literature on the Cuban Republican Press ................................ ............... 19 2 ENFRENTENAMIENTO POLITICS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 27 3 BALUARTE DE LA IDENTIDAD NACIONAL: A BRIEF HISTORY OF BOHEMIA .... 60 Siempre Adelante!: Miguel Angel Quevedo Prez (1908 1926) ................................ ........... 60 Nuestro Director: Quevedo the Son Takes Over (1927 1952) ................................ ........ 70 Bohemia Confronts Batista: The Revolutio 1940) ................... 76 4 CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY IN CUBA, MARCH 1952 ................................ ........ 91 Confronting el Madrugonazo and the Post Moncada World (1952 1958) ............................ 95 Con Censura: Moncada and the Silencing of the Press (1953) ................................ ....... 98 El Problema Cubano : Dreaming of Democracy and the 1954 Elections ...................... 102 El Rgimen de las Bolas : Civil War and Censorship (1956 1957) ............................... 104 5 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 111 6 EPILOGUE ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 116 Editing the Past in Order to Form a More Perfect Union: La Edicin de la Libertad (January 1959) ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 116 Revolucin Pero No Tanta Bohemia ................................ ............... 124 BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 130 .. 138
7 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts UNA REVISTA AL SERVICIO DE LA NACIN : BOHEMIA AND THE EVOLUTION OF CUBAN JOURNALISM (1908 1960) By Richard Denis December 2016 Chair: Lillian Guerra Major: Latin American Studies Bohemia reached a circulation of half a had established the magazi ne as the critical voice of Cuba, one that was deeply rooted in a messianic understanding of its role in shaping the contours of nationhood and historical memory, encouraging various forms of civic activism and participation, building and supporting the Re accountable. evolution was a process that often mirrored and even led similar processes in the development of Cuban journalism. This study aims to de pict the evolution of Cuban journalism and how Bohemia intervened in that process and helped to effectively shape the political culture of republican Cuba. Its on revolutionary overtones when his son was forced to ste er the struggling publication through the challenges of dictatorship, corruption, violence, and economic hardship. When the younger Quevedo took over Bohemia from his ailing father in 1927, the magazine grew in radicalism to become a voice for a more polit ically, socially, and economically democratic Cuba. amplified voice and its radical agit ation for change coincided with significant shifts in the social,
8 political, and economic contexts that were the results of both global and domestic condition s. Its agitation for radical change in the late 1920s and 1930s was notable in that it was one of a handful of publications to explicitly do so. By the 1940s and 1950s mission under the ce in the mainstream press to agitate fervent opposition to all dictatorships and support for Latin American revolutionaries.
9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION el solo principio de servir a los intereses la razn, para el bien de Cub a y de nuestros conciudadanos. 1 Miguel ngel Quevedo Bohemia, May 10, 1953 In the spring of 1912 the Cuban press waged a full scale discursive war against the es. 2 The ostensible cause was the armed protest of the first (and only) black political party in Cuba, the Partido Independiente de Color (PIC) which was contesting the Mora Law, legislation that had essentially outlawed the party. Fears of a black revol t that aimed to not only wrest control from political elites but also pillage what the whites considered civilization stemmed from the days of the Haitian Revolution, when whites feared a similar fate would befall their own slave society. As Melina Pappade mos shows, the press embarked on a rampage of anti black and racist coverage of events. 3 The sole exception was the weekly magazine Bohemia, which enjoyed a 1 Bohemia May 10, 1953, 89. 2 Aline Helg, Our Rightful Share: The Afro Cuban Struggle for Equality, 1886 1912 (Chape l Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1995), 194. 3 Melina Pappademos, Black Activism and the Cuban Republic (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2011), 158.
10 approximate ly 2,358,000. Its refusal to engage in the hysteria was the conscious decision on the part of its founder and editor Miguel ngel Quevedo Prez. Steeped in the tradition of the writing and journalism of Jos Mart and others that helped to ultimately creat e the Cuban republic, Quevedo Prez belonged to the first generation of Cubans that believed in the transformative effects of the press on the project of nation building. As that spring wore on, and the press continued to rage against the imminent danger of a independence wars of the late nineteenth century and had previously championed racial equality, 4 The press became complicit in the resulting repression, which included the slaughter of almost five thousand and all blacks as inherently dangerous to soc iety. The daily El D a loudly proclaimed: This is a racist uprising, an uprising of blacks, in other words, an enormous danger and a common danger Racist movements) are moved by hatred, and their purpose is negative, perverse; they are only conceived by free and beautiful America defending herself against a clawing scratch from Africa. 5 good for the newspaper and magazin e business. inducing icons of the bloodthirsty black beast, the black rapist of white women, and the black fanatic brujo 6 The 4 Alejandro de la Fuente, A Nation for All: Race, Inequality, and Politics in Twentieth Century Cuba (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2001), 73. 5 Helg, Our Rightful Share 196 196. 6 Ibid., 195. The word brujo translates to sorcerer and was frequently used by white Cubans, including renowned ethnologist Fernando Ortiz, to label the Afro Cuban religions such as Santeria as witchcraft. Between 1902 and 1905 Ortiz, then a young lawyer, explored the urban subculture of Afro Cubans, their religious beliefs and practices, and published his first book on the subject in 1906 as Los Negros Brujos (The Black Sorcerers). See Fernando Ortiz,
11 press was complicit in the wholesale repression and slaughter of bla cks through its deliberate distortion of the conflict. By conveying the idea that the PIC armed revolt was a race war it 7 As Lillian Guerra notes, public ju stification of state repression came from not only the on 8 Through their sensationalistic efforts, at a time when everyone on the island wanted to know what was happening, they also sold thousands of copies. The emphasis of sensationalism over facts illustrated a style of yellow journalism that was rooted 895 Independence War. The war between the American publishers William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer had inspired a profit driven type of news coverage best exemplified by their depiction of developments in Cuba between 1895 and 1898. Cuban publicatio ns did not have to look too far back in the past to find a style they could emulate and cash in on. 9 The daily El Mundo which in its first advertisement in 1901 vowed to stake a clear nationalist editorial line that would campaign against the Platt Amendm ent, grossly exaggerated the number of protesters and their number of arms, an egregious error that it refused to acknowledge even forty years later. Writing a one hundred fifty page retrospective of the newspaper in 1951, Cuban historian Herminio Portell Vil, barely acknowledged Los Negros Brujos (Madrid: La Libreria de Fernando Fe, 1906). For information on Ortiz and his work on Los Negros Brujos see Diana Iznaga Beira, El studio d el arte negro Fernando Ortiz, (Biblioteca Virtual Universal, 2003). 7 Ibid., 196. 8 Lillian Guerra, The Myth of Jos Mart : Conflicting Nationalisms in Early Twentieth Century Cuba (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 2005), 22 9. 9 David R. Spencer, (Evanston, Northwestern University Press, 2007), 223.
12 coverage of the 1912 uprising and subsequent massacre, much less any responsibility in its role in provoking fear and violence in the massacre. In writing about those years Portel Vil recalled 10 Along with El Mundo the daily La Discusi n also helped propagate the rumor that the protest by the PIC was actually a Haitia n led Afro standing fear of a Haitian style revolution that aimed to wrest the island from white control. 11 As the Cuban press began to warn of the dangers of a black armed revolt and engaged in fear mongering and rumor, the magazine Bohemia cultural life. One notable edition featured wall to wall coverage of all things related to the province of Camagey, which neighbored the province of Oriente, where most of the revolt and subsequent repression would take place. A glittering celebration of the heroic province that had Quevedo Prez chose to feature his frien page. Castillo de Gonzlez, a journalist and poet who had been expelled by the notorious Spanish military leader Valeriano Weyler during the 1895 War, had once been accused of sympathizing with th e independence movement and deported to Barcelona until the war ended in 1898. Her nouveau styled font that read BOHEMIA, and graced the ad by the 10 Herminio Portell Vil, Medio Siglo de El Mundo y Homenaje al Peri bana, 2001), 67. 11 Helg, Our Rightful Shar e, 197.
13 like a soliloquy in which she waxes poetic about the homage that was paid to her in her native province and her attendance at the inaugurati on of a bronze statue to revolutionary leader, and fellow Camageyan, Ignacio Agramonte. The letter is indeed a celebration of Agramonte and everything Camageyan, but more broadly, if not more significantly, it is a tribute to Cuban nationhood, or patria grandeur, but ultimately a work of art emblematic of the virtue of patria : Y el arte, el arte Italiano, el ms excelso, ha hecho del bronce y de la piedra el altar del patriotismo Cu bano, la cspide de heroismo y de virtudes que todas las generaciones venideras, como la presente, deben alzar ojos arrobados y corazones enardecidos dispuestos lo ms bello: el sacrificio por la patria, y las virtudes, todo lo grande que en esa c spide se simboliza. No, no he soado. La Hermosa realidad est all. 12 symboli c notions of an evolving vision of Cubanness, or Cubanidad is what lit up the pages of the young magazine at a time when social and political turmoil threatened to thrust the island into yet another US occupation or worse. As other publications continued to ruthlessly dehumanize a significant minority of its population Bohemia celebrated Cuban martyrs, cultural institutions and probed for deeper meanings of patria In consciously deciding to regularly afford space for female journalists, even high profile placements such as the front page, Quevedo Prez had been limited to males until the 1860s. 13 Nowhere on its pages did Quevedo Prez choose to 12 Bohemia March 26, 1912, 122. 13 Ana Nuez Machn, Mujeres en el periodismo cubano (Santiago de Cuba: Editorial Oriente, 1989), 22.
14 chronicle the unfo lding socio political turmoil that was being sensationalized and manipulated on the pages of the other publications. Under his stewardship of Bohemia (1908 construct and consolidate a sense of Cuban national identity was achieved in two ways. First, in helping to discover and promote distinctly Cuban artists Quevedo Prez demonstrated a nationalistic streak t cultural institutions through the contributions of native Cubans. Second, in intentionally using dational heroes such as Ignacio Agramonte, Quevedo Prez sought to give meaning to the notions of Cubanidad and patria to more actively involve the reader in the process of nation building while ment to strengthening the of Bohemia as an institution that could catalyze Cubans to engage in civic activism. potential to demonstrate political ra dicalism was evident not only through its silence on the so called Race War of politically radical act he could: Bohemia neither sensationalized nor distorted the armed protest of the PIC. By breaking with rank and becoming possibly the only white journalist to refuse to give in to the hysteria of the press, Quevedo Prez enshrined his young publication in a veneer o f liberalism and independence which would guide it for almost fifty years. significant effects: it portrayed the slaughter of thousands of blacks as a necessary maneuver to restore social unity; and it further marginalized blacks, who not only suffered from the
15 dehumanization of being inaccurately characterized but also from the egregious violation of their human rights. 14 That Bohemia declined to participate in what was an otherwis e universal press to instill and spread fear. Moreover, at a time when the demand for news reached its peak lace profit over principle becomes emblematic of Bohemia established a tradition that would relentlessly steer the magazine in an independent direction and would make it one of the only, and even perhaps the only, publication that did not profit from its attachment to the government du jour By maintaining its independence, Bohemia revolutionary free press. By maintaining its fidel ity to constructing and consolidating its sense of cubanidad it became popularly known as the bulwark of Cuban national identity, el baluarte de la identidad nacional Fidel Castro would later expound on that moniker and call Bohemi a, nuestro m s firme 15 In the process, it managed to sell more weekly copies, and enjoyed the highest circulation, of any publication in all Latin America between the late 1920s and 1960. To understand the extent of (and both Quevedos) power in Cuba from 1908 1958 it is necessary to go back, even at the risk of what might seem predictable, to Jos Mart. But, the belief that journalism could serve as the vehicle in the creation of a nation that had been betrayed by two US military occupations, the Platt A mendment, and native oligarchs whose main concern was the distribution of the spoils of power among themselves, has deep and 14 Alejandro Leonardo Fernndez Caldern, P ginas en conflicto: debate racial en la prensa cubana (1912 1930 ), (Havana: Editorial UH, 2014), 31. 15 Bohemia see Fidel en Bohemia: (Havana: Editoria Poltica, 2008).
16 inescapable roots in the journalism of the nineteenth century. Cuban American historian Ada Ferrer argues that Mart and his genera tion of journalists essentially constructed a vision for Cuban nationhood through their writings, a factor that helped create a momentum for not only the imagination of a patria, but for the mobilization of Cubans that would take up arms for that Clearly they saw their writing as more than representation; they saw it also as weapon and war strategy, as a central part of the very process of insurgency they were seeking to 16 In imagining the first two wars of independence they could create a powerful impetus for a third. As John M. Kirk notes, migr newspapers such as the and Raimundo Cuba y Am rica and Cuba y sus jueces presented Cubans wit h blueprints for nation broadened the revolutionary political power base at the same time. 17 In Eileen Marie e deduced a trend that underscored the democratization of the independence movement. El Mensagero Semanal covered mostly Europeans but La Verdad La Revoluci n and Patria focused mostly on covering ed a role for every Cuban in the 18 While La Verdad lacked labor coverage, Patria was steeped in its coverage of the labor movement, further indicating the democratization of the independence movement. 19 Patria thus 16 Ada Ferrer, Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868 1898 (Chapel Hill & London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1999), 115. 17 Eileen Maria McGovern, From Varela to Mart i: Four nineteenth century Cuban migr newspapers (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1990), 221. For the original source see John M. Kirk, Jose Mart Mentor of the Cuban Nation (Tampa: University Presses of Florida, 1983). 18 Ibid., 305. 19 Ibid., 305.
17 political change, was indelibly stitched in the minds of the first generation of the Cuban s and editors. political and civic leaders: In many important ways, much o f Cuban politics, revolutionary as well as institutional, turned on who most faithfully interpreted and most zealously pursued the ideals of 1898 gave decisive shape and content to republic an politics, a legacy that served as a mandate to revolution for the next three generations of Cubans. 20 Bohemia at reclaiming what he envisioned as the legacy of the socio political vicissitudes of the late nineteenth century: the notion of a free, fair, and independent patria When his son and namesake, Miguel ngel Quevedo de la Lastra takes over Bohemia in one ruled by greed and violence to one more representative of o rdinary Cubans. The younger social, and economic crises that his generation would face. Broadly known as the Generation of 1930, the cluded a wide spectrum of ideologically diverse 20 Louis A. Prez, Cuba Between Empires 1878 1902 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 1983), 386.
18 (later president of the Republic) Carlos Pro Socarrs. In the process, the younger and financially astute Quevedo, would not only steer Bohemia in a new direction that would lead some Cubans to consider the publication a national institution, he would increase its circulation and readership dely circulated publication. This study grew out of the conviction that the print press, and particularly the weekly magazine Bohemia constitutes a neglected source for Cuban history that remains virtually unexplored by scholars, who instead utilize Cuba n publications as sources of information but republican period (1902 1958) is a rich field of study because it exemplifies the hopes and frustrations of the Cuban people, particularly in their capacity as an organized society vis vis the Cuban state as a political entity. As one of the few independent news sources untainted by bribes or auto censorship, coverage put flesh on the political narrative of Cu republican history. Studying critical political coverage, especially considering its leading role in the struggle against the Machado and Batista dictatorships, offers a window onto the hopes and frustrations of the Cuban polity as interpret ed by the media vehicle that claimed to best represent them. Cuban journalist Pedro Yanes, who worked with Bohemia in the 1950s and was a close friend of Quevedo, encapsulates the relationship between Bohemia and the Cuban Bohemia was more than an 21 This study aims to depict the evolution of Cuban journalism and how Bohemia intervened 21 Taped interview with Pedro Yanes by Richard Denis, Miami, FL, May 29, 2015.
19 reclaim Cuban sovereignty and agency through a neocolonial context takes on revolutionary overtones when his son was forced to steer the struggli ng publication through the challenges of dictatorship, corruption, violence, and economic hardship. When the younger Quevedo took over Bohemia from his ailing father in 1927, the magazine grew in radicalism to become a voice for a more politically, sociall y, and economically democratic Cuba. amplified voice and its radical agitation for change was facilitated by the significant shifts in the social, political, and economic contexts that were the results of both global and domestic conditions. Its agitation for radical change in the late 1920s and 1930s was notable in that it was one of a handful of publications to explicitly do so. By the 1940s and 1950s son intensifies as it becomes the most radical voice in t he mainstream press to agitate for fervent opposition to all dictatorships and support for Latin American revolutionaries. A Look at the Literature on th e Cuban Republican Press While Cuban historiography is diversifying, and moving away from binary representations of pre revolutionary Cuba, th ere has not been an extensive study on the relationship between the press and politics in Cuba. Ivette Villaescusa's recent work on the challenges of the Cuban press of the 1950s frames the press' challenges within a binary ideological framework limited to a confrontation between a bourgeois and revolutionary press. 22 Her assessment is highly problematic because it places a publication like Bohemia squarely into characte 22 Ivette Villaescusa, D esafos de la prensa c ubana (Havana: Editora Historia 2015), 20.
20 of life. 23 Although Villaescusa recognizes journalistic contributions in documenting le in highlighting the its coverage of the years 1927 1933. Her analysis also glosses over earlier efforts in promoting a nationalist culture and its significant role in shaping public discourse in a way that encouraged multi class participation, such as the multitude of contests and campaigns that were sponsored by the magazine that were open to all Cubans, and often inspired the wealthier classes to donate their time and money in helping poor Cubans. Dos siglos de periodismo en Cuba aims to analyze two centuries of Cuban journalism in one hundred and thirty pages. it does from the limitations imposed by the selectivity and narrow focus of the material. Cuban ays of freedom of the press on the island in 1959 Prensa o de la ley agrarian hay que 24 Ruby Hart Phillips, a correspondent for the New York Times who lived in Cuba for close to thirty years, wrote two books that chronicled her time in Cuba, covering the fall of the rootedness in the island certainly clouded her perspective but it is her 23 Ibid., 33. 24 Waldo Fernndez Cuenca, La Imposici n del Silencio: Como se clausur la libertad de prensa en Cuba 1959 1960 (Madrid: Hypermedia Ediciones, 2016), 117.
21 claim of stric t objectivity that most discredits her work. By painting the Cubans as a volatile and proud people who respect American democratic principles but resent American influence in social, and political life, Phillips relegates her analysis to a one dimensional caricature of a complex people living a history that requires a more nuanced interpretation. If anything, the myriadThe sentiment inherent in the title of her first book, Cuba: Island of Paradox has gone on to characterize journalistic des cription of Cuba as an island beset by contradiction. In 1957, Phillips arranged for the visit of a fellow Times writer who was then preparing to engage directly with the nascent armed insurrection in the Sierra Maestra mountains of eastern Cuba. Herbert Matthews, perhaps the most famous journalist to cover Cuba, has received outsized attention because he was the first journalist to visit Fidel Castro in his mountain hideout. ebel leader had been killed. He also catapulted the rebel leader (and indeed the whole island of Cuba) onto the American consciousness. While the Cuban media, particularly publications like Bohemia in the mainstream press, and clandestine newspapers played a greater role in tapping into the Cuban consciousness and concluding that Castro and his movement were perhaps the best and only his pioneering feat. It is i mpossible to deny the impact the first Matthews interview had in introducing the larger than life personality of Castro t o many Americans, but there were other notable journalists, particularly Jules Dubois and Andrew St. George, who spent longer periods i n Cuba and delved deeper into the nuances of the civil war. In his 1961 book on his experiences in Cuba, The Cuban Story Matthews is at once reflective and defensive about his role as a journalist in enabling the rise of what some were
22 already calling a d inaccurately it is chronicled when it happens, how much of it is colored by the point of view, 25 While Matthews defends his actions and reiterates his faith in the Revolution, he simultaneously attempts to Matthews remains problematic precisely because of the mythic st atus achieved by his Reporting the Cuban Revolution: How Castro Manipulated the American Journalists, rightly contextualizes Matthews role with respect to the rest of the reporting done by American media outlets, it does so through an ethnocentric lens that dismisses the role of the Cuban media, which was relatively advanced in the 1950s, by pointing to B Bohemia on March 3, 1957, the first edition of the magazine to print after the original a rticle ran in the New York Times 26 important stories of the other American journalists who undoubtedly had an impact on how Americans viewed the Cuban insurrection, namely Jules Dubois and Andrew St. G eorge and in doing so from a somewhat objective point of view. There were also several clandestine publications that had a significant impact on the 26 of July Movement. It is important to note that Jules Dubois and Andrew 25 Herbert L. Matthews, The Cuban Story (New York: George Braziller, 1961), 311. 26 New York Times Februar y 24, 1957, 1. For the Spanish version run in Bohemia Bohemia March 3, 1957, sup. 2 4.
23 St. George played significant roles in the portrayal of Castro and his rebels as freedom fighters, am media, especially Bohemia and the daily newspaper Prensa Libre as well as the clandestine publications in legitimating and even ennobling the cause of the opposition, especially with respect to ebels. 27 What makes Bohemia exceptional in this case is that it was independently owned and had reflected the popular currents of Cuban cultural life for fifty years. of ten scathing critique of the Ba stories of the victims of the dictatorship by printing graphic images and stories that were often sensationalized. that h as explicitly dealt with this relationship and it consequences. One of the first English language studies to specifically deal Cuban Revolution. The Selling of Fidel Castro: The Media and the Cuban Revolution edited by William Ratliff, features a n important chapter by historian Carlos Ripoll that was the most extensive treatment yet of the press from 1952 1960 in Cuba. s main purpose by Bohemia 27 Juanita Darling, Latin America, Media, and Revolution: Communication in Modern Mesoam erica (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2008), 7.
24 immoral regime that brought Batista down (although there was plenty of that dissatisfaction). It was, in fact, the press that, notwithstanding the punishment it received, gradually undermined the dictatorship by denouncing its illegal claim to power and its abuses at ev ery opportunity. 28 coercion and consensus to maintain power. dominating hold on the Cuban people. Beginning with the 1952 coup, Ripoll covers militant entire people to achieve excellence within a framework of democratic legality and mutual 29 Ripoll then chronicles the various articles and editorials lambasting the regime that in former constitutional norms 30 Public protests continued, however and even though civil rights were suspended off and on for the next year the press, especially Bohemia did not relent in its attacks against Batista. 31 ncada barracks in 1953 and the Batista g 28 The Selling of Fidel Castro : The Media and the Cuban Revolution ed William E. Ratliff, (New Brunswick: Transaction, Inc., 1987), 85. 29 Ibid., 87. 30 Ibid., 88. 31 Ibid., 88.
25 news but civil rights were immediately suspended. The government (Ripoll calls Batista an inept dictator) did not fully enforce censorship a nd Bohemia 32 he was constitu strongman. He constantly strove to distinguish himself from seemingly more ruthless dictators uspend and then reinstate constitutional guarantees, and granted amnesty to political prisoners, most notably, and to his everlasting chagrin, Fidel and Raul Castro in May of 1955. The following first chapter will provide a broad view of the relationship b print media and the various political currents on the island throughout its history, with a focus on the Republican period (1902 1958). The second chapter will examine the socio political context in which Bohemia transitioned from its early phase as a provider of cultural and literary content otion of what the Republic should be was reflected in the myriad causes and campaigns engaged on its behalf. It 1960) was framed by an ideological evolution that mirrored the political and s ocial upheaval of the island. The third chapter will examine how this transformation was reflected in editorial line with Editorials provide a pub lic forum for the dissemination of ideas and political issues ripe for discussion and debate. Thus, an analysis of Bohemia editorials on key political events of the 32 Ibid., 89.
26 histo ric role as the critical voice in the Cuban press in his efforts to shape public and political discourses. These editorials also help shed light on the confrontation between the press and censorship lations of press freedoms.
27 CHAPTER 2 ENFRENTENAMIENTO POLITICS The often intimate relationship between the Cuban periodical press and the political and cultural life of the country began in May of 1764, only a year after the British had returned Cuba to Spain after a ten month occupation of the island, with the public ation of Gaceta de la Habana 1 In the wake of the English occupation, Spain had committed herself to administrative reform and it is likely that Captain General Ambrosio Funes de Villalpando (1763 1766), viewed the printing of a newspaper as one element of the reform process that could prove useful to the colonial government and beneficial to the general population. 2 Colonial authorities were conscious of the potential of the press to complement the role of government and help build economic prosperity but they were also aware that unconstrained 3 To control the printing industry, the colonial government established the Imprenta de la Capitana General a printing house that would dominate Havana until the nineteenth century 4 The first surviving edition of Gaceta from 1782 g year Imprenta, was ready 1 Andrs ngulo Perez, La prensa en Cuba: Proceso hist rico 2 Ibid., 5. 3 Larry Jensen, Children of Colonial Despotism: Press, Politics, and Culture in Cuba, 1790 1840 (Tampa: University of South Florida Press, 1988), 6. 4 John A. Lent, Bibliography of Cuban Mass Communications, (Westport, Connecticut, and London: Greenwood Press, 1992), 1.
28 the Gazeta de la Habana 5 would benefit by having one of the first printing industries in the Caribbean and Central America. 6 However, with the pub lication of the twice weekly, four page gazette Papel Peri dico de la Habana in 1790, the history of the Cuban press began in earnest. Papel Peridico (1790 1810) printed the official communications of the colonial bureaucracy, pre censored news from Europ e, and so me advertisements. It was an auspicious time for Cuba to begin printing a newspaper: the island would soon become awash in an era of prosperity predicated on the massive importation of African slaves into Havana, the demise of Saint Domingue as th e communication between Spain and her colonies due to the war with France. 7 Colonial officials and the sugar elite conspired to build institutions that would society and it was support from colonial institutions such as the Sociedad Economic a de Amigos del Pais Sociedad assumed proprieta ry and editorial rights over the Papel Peridico and promoted sugar interests at the expense of other peninsular commercial interests. 8 In fact, Papel Peridico played 1790s. 9 This unprecedented power illustrated the enormous potential of the periodical press to 5 Gaxeta de la Habana is known to have first appeared in 1782 and was edited by the Catalans Diego de la Barrera and then Francisco Segu 6 Ibid., viii. 7 Jensen, Children of Colonial Despotism 7. 8 Ibid., 7. 9 Ibid., 7.
29 creation, cultivation and flourishing of a free, socially engaged press lay at the foundation of the concept of Cuban nationhood from the Cuban government under Fid el Castro. 10 Papel Periodico conduit for the flourishing of a vibrant literary culture. These literary possibilities, Larry Jensen vices of Cuban societal customs in a style known as costumbrismo 11 The first costumbrista essay to appear in the press appeared in a 1790 eidtion of Papel Periodico and focused on gambling, underscoring s traditional concern with individual and social morality. 12 This literary genre, while borrowed from eighteenth century Spain, represented a vehicle by which Latin American writers and journalists sought to define and explain their everyday life and their distinctly American customs. Costumbrista essays in Papel Periodico criollo interests and heralded a change of Cuban consciousness; a fundamental shift in the way Cubans thought about themselves. 13 As Lou is A. Perez notes, cultural forms such as costumbrismo reflected a developing sense of identity and criollo awareness of their differences with peninsulares heightened a consciousness of community between criollos onality on the eve of the 10 Lillian Guerra, Visions of Power: Revolution, Redemption, and Resistance, 1959 1971 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2012), 11 Jensen, Children of Colonial Despotism 9. 12 Ibid., 55, 145 (n43) 13 Louis A. Prez, Cuba: Between Reform and Revolution (New York and Oxford: Oxford Universityy Press, 1988), costumbristas was Cirilo Villaverde, best known for the romantic novel Cecilia Valdes
30 14 As the nineteenth century began, Buenaventura Pascual Ferrer launched the daily El Rega on de La Habana (1800 1802), the first Cuban periodical to use satire in critiques on Papel Peri dico s. 15 But 1820s did not automatically lead to new spaces where editors and writers were free to express overt anticolonial sentiment, although editors certainl y found clever ways to address colonial malfeasance. The free press legislation that emanated out of Spain in late 1810 introduced Cubans to boasted ten newspapers : two dailies, one triweekly, and seven weeklies. 16 That same year, Cuban journalists officially gathered together for the first time as the Junta General de Periodistas (General Junta of Journalists). 17 From within closed doors, this little known organiza tion articulated its collective discontent with colonial despotism. A document with detailed notes from the gathering proclaimed: Congregados todos los periodistas de La Habana en lugar seguro, donde libres de los ignorantes, de los partidarios de la tira nia y de los aduladores sempiternos de los dspotas pudiesen tratr de reformas de abusos y de proponer los medios convenientes para 18 14 Ibid., 69. 15 Salvador Bueno, Costumbristas Cubanos del Siglo XIX (Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1983), xiii. 16 Jensen, Children of Colonial Despotism 36. 17 Album del Cincuentenario published by Asociacin de Reporters de la Habana, 1952, 159. 18 Ibid., 159.
31 El Tio Bartolo (1820 1821) used fictional characters to muse on colonial abuses of power. Its format was pleasant gossip, Larry Jensen writes, but the 19 It was a stylistic choice that would later be emulated by Raimundo Cabrera in his groundbreaking Cuba y sus jueces (1887). Constitutional freedoms notwithstanding, the Cuban press remain somewhat sudued in its criticism of the colonial system and its offcials. It advocate for Cuban independence from Spain, El Habanero The timing was not coincidental. With the restoration, the press was once again muzzled and subject to pre c ensorship. Varela left Spain and settled in Philadelphia where he published El Habanero under his own name. Colonial repression of seemingly seditious exile publications like El Habanero had its limits however. Although ninety two copies of its second edi tion were confiscated in Matanzas, many more circulated undetected, much to the consternation of Captain General Vives, who worried that young educated Cubans were being ind 20 The newspaper was, for the most part, a study of pol itical unrest and oppression that analyzed how to correct the unbearable conditions in mid 1820s colonial Cuba. 21 In boldly caling for the freedom of Cuba from colonialism, whether the Spanish king liked it or not, Varela risked his life, and in the third and fourth editions, he exposed an assassination plot against him by agents of the King. 22 19 Jense, Children of Colonial De p sotism 59. 20 Ibid., 98. 21 Joseph J. The Americas 20, no. 4 (1964): Cambridge University Press, 380. 22 Ibid., 381.
32 The circulation of El Habanero underscored the consequences that exile newspapers such as El Habanero would have on Cuba and the formation of a collective Cuban consciousness. Although only seven issues were published in two years, El Habanero would help shape the contours of revolutionary thought that would mold Cubans such as Jose Maria de Mendive, whos e pupil Jos Mart would take on the cause of independence. impact would and change. In the absence of an accountable colonial power that woul d periodically tighten the screws of repression on a criollo population that was beginning to view itself as a nation, Cubans began to view the press as an institution to which they could turn to; one that legitimated their grievances and sought to constru potential far reaching power of the press and provided a valuable symbol of the press as a fourth power: a fourth branch of government that British politician Edmund Burke called (when describin El Habanero also unleashed the power of a nascent migr press that would, as Louis A. Perez argues, contribute to the consciousness of nationality by creating open fields of excha nge and expanding the modes of communication to produce a more unified and informed constituency. 23 contributions influenced an intellectual explosion in the 1820s and 1830s that led to increased public discourse on Cuban nationality at a time when the public sphere of civil society was expanding across Latin America; developments that prompted concerned colonial officials to respond with censorship and repression. 24 23 Prez, Louis A. On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality, and Culture (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina P ress, 1999 ), 44 24 David Sartorius, Ever Faithful: Race, Loyalty, and the Ends of Empire in Spanish Cuba (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2013), 70.
33 Manuel Moreno Fraginals notes that in the decade b etween 1824 and 1834 Cubans criollo elites led these developments through their membership in the Sociedad Economica with founded o Bimestre Cubana (1831 1834; 1910 1959). 25 This seminal publication played an important role in molding the concsciousness of the first generation of writers and journalists in the Republic, including Qu evedo Prez. The journal, which can be considered the precursor to the magazines of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries bemoaned the cultural lag suffered in the colony and aimed at the revolutionary task of serving as a Cuban literary organ with a distinctly Cuban voice. 26 To that end it publicly announced its intent: It is truly astonishing that in this unfortunate land, a land in which culture and elegance reside, a periodical devoted to disseminating and promoting knowledge of the most worth y of our own and foreign literary works, to criticizing and judging them, has not emerged. These publications, which has given much impetus to and served as a great incentive for other nations, are, with few exceptions, unknown among us. 27 The editors of Revista Bimestre Cubana employed the Cuban writer and intellectual Jos Antonio Saco as its director, were clearly pointing to the paradoxical nature of an island that featured an aristocracy wealthier than any other in the world, surpassing even the Briti sh royal family, but did not have a publication that would critically analyze its rich wealth of cultural cultural life and the magazine itself would go on to r evolutionize Cuban intellectual thought by 25 Manuel Moreno Fraginals, Cuba/Espaa, Espaa/Cuba: Historia comn (Madrid: Grijalbo Mondador i, 1995), 195. From Sartorius, Ever Faithful 70. 26 Pamela Maria Smorkaloff, Readers and Writers in Cuba : A Social History of Print Culture, 1830s 1990s (New York: Garland, 1997), 34. 27 Ibid., 34.
34 de la Luz y Caballero, Felipe Poey, and Domingo del Monte. These writers voiced their hopes d political autonomy from Spain in the face of government repression. The magazine stopped printing in 1834 as a protest to the deportation of Saco, its director, who was exiled due to his political opinions, especially his hostility toward the slave trade 28 Although not always, the Sociedad Economica adhered to the norms of acceptable public discourse established by colonial officials even if those norms restricted the periodical press and 29 The primary concern for colonial authorities remained silencing news of antocolonial or revolutionary movements. 30 As the nineteenth century progressed however, journalism irrevocably influenced, and often led the charge on the revolutionary hopes and social causes of the Cuban people. 31 During the first revolutionary war (1868 1878) newspapers such as El Cubano Libre the revolutionary aspiration s of the men and women fighting for Cuban independence, the mambises and came to represent the intransigence and combativeness of Cuban patriotism. 32 Journalist Raimundo Cabrera, who at sixteen joined the rebellion against Spain, became best known for bo ok, Cuba y sus jue ces (1887) was a searing indictment on the Spanish colonial 28 Jos Mara Aguilera Manzano, La formaci n de la identida d cubana (el debate Saco La Sagra), (Havana: Editorial CSIC, 2005), 11. Jensen, Children of Colonial Despotism 108. 29 Sartorius, Ever Faithful 71. 30 Ibid., 71. 31 Michael B. Salwen, Latin American Journalism (Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 1991), 54. 32 Ambrosio Fornet, El Libro en Cuba: Siglos XVIII y XIX (Havana: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 2014), 200.
35 government. Because of the liberalization of colonial policies in the 1880s, spac es for these types 33 Cabrera wrote and published the book in a mere six weeks. In four months, three editions had been published and thousands of copies were sent to population centers in the interior of th e country as well as in Key West and Tampa. The Spanish occupational forces reported confiscating copies from insurgent camps in 1895, the first year of the independence war. 34 In preparing for the 1895 war which aimed to o ust Spanish rule for good on the island, Jos Mart's journalistic works, such as the newspaper Patria were instrumental in inspiring patriotic fervor among Cubans and exiles alike and influenced the foundation of a Cuban republic. The origins of the noti on of journalism as an effective nation building tool stem back to hundred clubs, was effectively stitched together by Patria and other newspapers that effectively ca talyzed Cubans around the need for independence from Spain. The contributions of Mart and journalists such as Juan Gualberto Gmez and Enrique Jos Varona proved indispensable in shaping the foundational discourse that guided the island in its transition from colony to republic to revolution. As Ada Ferrer notes in the last two decades of the century, Havana experienced a minor publishing boom as over "five hundred magazines, newspapers, and other serial public a tions appeared in the city in this period." 35 These writings were fundamental to constructing an "ideol o gical campaign to negate Spanish representations of the nationalist 33 Ferrer, Insurgent Cuba 113. 34 Raimundo Cabrera, Desde mi sitio 35 Ibid., 113.
36 movement, which was then coalescing around the notion of an independent Cuban nation. 36 As Marial Iglesias Utset argues, newspapers and other writings played a critical role in promoting 37 The power of journalism in s haping nationhood was not lost on the early editors of the republic such as Quevedo Prez of Bohemia and Jos Manuel Govn of the daily newspaper El Mundo (1901 1969). In fact, that these editors used their journalistic power to shape their respective, and often competing, visions of nation. 38 39 The pro imperialist nationalist newspaper Patria who sought to mediate social differences among reliance and self 40 June 17, 1895 edition, achieves significance in that it becomes the first public ation to publicly eulogize Marti: Al entrar en prensa el presente nmero recibimos la cruel certidumbre de que ya no existe el Apstol ejemplar, el maestro querido, el abnegado Jos Mart. Patria, reverente y atribulada, dedicar todo su nmero prximo a glorificar al patriota, a enaltecer el inmortal. 41 In its tribute to its founder, Patria 36 Ibid., 113. 37 Marial Iglesias Utset A Cultural History of Cuba During the US Occupation, 1898 1902 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011), 106. 38 Portell Vil, Medio Siglo de El Mun do 15. 39 Guerra, The Myth of Jos Mart 12. 40 Ibid., 16. 41 J uan Marrero, Dos Siglos de Periodismo en Cuba: Momentos hechos y rostros (Havana: Pablo de la Torriente Editorial, 1999), 43.
37 legacy after his death. The revolutionary leaders of the 1895 98 War well understood the critical role the p ress played in both spreading their ideas and goals and in galvanizing Cubans to their cause. In an 1894 letter to revolutionary journalist Enrique Trujillo, Generalissimo Maximo Gomez e can accomplish 42 Indeed, the press was instrumental in contributing to a unified and informed constituency and in the process of creating open fields of exchange and expanding the modes of communication it became an important conduit of competi ng versions of nationhood. 43 Most major developments and innovations in the press and print technology in the last half of the nineteenth century came from the United States. These advancements helped reduce production costs and increased circulation, pro viding larger audiences for Cuban migr newspapers such as Patria 44 Publications like Patria affected the character of ident ity by using the same methods to create nation and shape the content of nationality, a condition that led to the development of a powerful migr press. 45 Although colonial repression, especially censorship, adversely impacted the mission of nineteenth ce ntury Cuban writers and journalists, they nevertheless found inventive ways to monarchical censors suppressed an article it would appear in the publication as a blank column, signali ng to the reader 42 Raul Quintana Suarez, Fidel Castro y la prensa escrita: Legado y contemporaneidad (Havana, Universidad de Ciencias Pedagogicas, 2009), 4. 43 Louis A. Prez Jr. On Becoming Cuban 44 45. 44 Ibid., 45. 45 Ibid., 45.
38 46 The demand for freedom of the press in Cuba, as in other countries, became a transformative impulse that created, for the first time, something like a public space, where Cubans could exchange ideas and assert the right to be kept informed. 47 The rise of t he newspaper in Cuba, as well the Cuban migr publications in the United States, began to establish Cubans as politically mature subjects while at the same time mobilizing them for certain ends, namely confrontation with colonial master Spain as well as p articipation in the creation of a distinctly Cuban nation. Indeed, as Louis A. Perez shows, the discursive process itself often functioned as a means of mobilization. 48 As had been the case for the United States, i It was during the latter part of the ninete enth century that the idea of the press as an institutional counterweight to the government, political culture. 49 voice to a d iversity of voices and would soon become, in and of itself, a political force to be reckoned with. A crucial element that often determined the lens by which Cubans negotiated their vision 50 of nationhood was undoubtedly race. The racial question, along with the type of society an independent Cuban state should have, were core elements that framed separatist discourse in the late nineteenth century. Blacks joined the political debates in efforts to enhance their political, 46 Smorkaloff, Readers and Writers in Cub a 42. 47 Jrgen Osterhammel, The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century, (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2014), 29. 48 Perez, On Becoming Cuban 46. 49 Osterhammel, Transformation of the World 31. 50 Helg, Our Rightful Share 40.
39 social, and economic participation. 51 Rebecca J. Scott argues that mutual aid societies, known as Sociedades de la Raza de Color, increased their salience as the main form of association for black Cubans by the 1880s. 52 proliferation of newspa 53 Most of these associations and publications focused on issues such as education, recreation, social welfare, and in some cases political objectives. 54 Juan Gualberto Gmez, an ardent nationalist who was mulatto son of ex slaves, used the press as a mechanism of protest in which he voiced his support for social justice, racial equality, and his opposition to foreign encroachments on Cuban sovereignty. 55 As editor of the most important black newspaper of the 1890s La Igualdad (1892 entailed promoting a counterideology to white supremacy by reasserting the value of blackness. He did this by featuring articles that highlighted the fundamen tal role blacks had played in both the economic prosperity of the island and in the independence war and abolition. 56 La Igualdad as Aline Helg notes, was read by not only literate Cubans but also to illiterate audiences, demonstrating the significant pot 57 David Sartorius shows that the question of literacy particularly resonated 51 Pappademos, Black Political Activism, 133. 52 By 1889 there were thirty two mutu al aid scoieties whose names reflected their respective philosophies and purposes: El Trabajo, El Amparo, Socorros, Mutuos, La Fraternidad, El Progreso, La Amistad, La Igualdad, La Luz, Las Hijas del Progreso, and so on. See Rebecca J. Scott, Slave Emancip ation in Cuba: The Transition to Free Labor, 1860 1899 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1985), 269. 53 Ibid., 269. 54 Ibid., 269. 55 Pappademos, Black Political Activism ., 73. 56 Helg., Our Rightful Share 39. 57 Ibid., 40.
40 with black Cubans in the nineteenth century because despite low literacy rates, Cubans were privy to traditions of liste ning to newspapers and other texts read aloud in spaces such as cigar factories, rural estates, and the meetng halls of clubs and associations. 58 In fact, readers in cigar factories had long played important roles in the dissemination of information to workers who were either semiliterate or illiterate, resulting in the politicization of the working class. Famed Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz recounted the origin of the custom in 1864 when, on the initiative of the workers, the custom was permanentl y established in a cigar factory in Bejucal. 59 Ortiz describes how reading aloud in the cigar factories became associations to protect class 60 It was no accident that these workers were among the most fervent supporters of workers alike would become journalis ts themselves. In late 1865, cigar worker Saturnino Martinez would aunch the first labor newspaper La Aurora a weekly that circulated primarily among cigar workers and exposed the bad working conditions of some tobacco factories. 61 Martinez would also lea Tabaqueros de la Habana in 1866, which set a pattern for Cuban labor organization by conducting a series of strikes that sought demands from the employing firms in the tobacco 58 Sartorius, Ever Faithf ul 148. 59 Fernando Ortiz, Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1947), 89. 60 Ibid., 91. 61 Robert Jackson Alexander, A History of Organized Labor in Cuba (Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002), 8.
41 industry. 62 The advent of labor journalism in Cuba thus dovetailed with the growth of trade unionism, underscoring the crucial link between the culture of literacy and the politicization of a new elite working class. Lector turned journalists Martin Mora Delgado a nd Rafael Serra y Montalvo highlight former lector and journalist rose to himself become a politician. Mora, who authored the 1910 Mora Amendment introduced at the beginning of this work, would become the first black president of the Senate, and eschewed the need for political mobilization based on race and embraced transracial nationalism. 63 Mora offers an extreme example of how a member of the subaltern popula tion used literacy to politicize himself and other Cubans and end up a member of the political establishment only a few years after independence. figure that would rise to 64% by 1920 and 71% by 1930. 64 The rise in literacy certainly provided an expanding market for the press, but it also did not necessarily exclude those who were less educated. While most literates tended to live in urban areas, there existed a culture o f literacy among semi countryside. Marial Iglesias Utset illustrates the case of a former slave who was taught to read by the mistress of the house and during the first US occupatio n (1898 1902) serves as a translator of sorts to her illiterate fellow villagers, who gather outside her house to listen to and discuss the 62 Ibid., 9. 63 Ferrer, Insurgent Cuba 133. 64 Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz www.OurWorldinData.org/data/education knowledge/literacy Accessed May 1, 2016.
42 links political de liberations occurring on a national level, as synthesized in the newspaper 65 Many semiliterate and illiterate Cubans therefore were also aware of unfolding political events and could assign their own meaning to such events. Semi literates were often attracted to and participated in the culture of literacy through the sale of publications that they not only could afford, but that often articulated their own working class concerns. Robe penny press on the formation of working class consciousness in the early twentieth century illustrates how this type of media effectively reached its target audience through a combination of eye catching graphics, acerbic political and social critique and a wicked sense of humor. 66 In Cuba, where a social revolution had already occurred in the 1890s and a series of would be revolutions throughout the next twenty years threatened to further alter the political landscape and shift power away from entrenched elites, a vibrant popular culture flourished by the 1920s. As literacy expanded to more working class Cubans, a market for the consumption of cheap novels with lurid titles and images such as La Cigarrera and Memorias de un Teniente Mahadista appealed to working class Cubans because they often portrayed the upward mobilization of its protagonists. These novels represented a sort of Cuban counterpart to the Mexican penny press and engaged semilite rate and poor Cubans in an ever expanding culture of literacy that would have repercussions in the content and appeal of future publications such as Bohemia and in the potential for the further politicization and mobilization of Cubans. Throughout the cou rse of two hundred years, Cuban journalists have alternatively 65 Iglesias Utset, A Cultu ral History 108. 66 Robert M. Buffington A Sentimental Education for the Working Man: The Mexico City Penny Press, 1900 1910 (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2015), 11.
43 struggled under colonial governments and post colonial dictatorships, enjoying brief periods of press freedoms. One of those periods was the early republic (1902 1929) when a form of oligarchic democracy best characterized Cuba's political system. As Elizabeth Fox argues, an autonomous cultural and literary tradition in Latin America influenced the early years of development of print media. 67 Nowhere was this influence more apparent than in mag azines such as El Figaro (1885 1933) whose administrator Quevedo Prez was inspired by that Bohemia in 1908. Started in 1885 in colonial times, El Figaro itself was modeled on the weekly French magazine (1843 1944) known for the quality of its graphic illustrations and rich artistic content drawn from fin de sicle Paris. 68 El Figaro landscapes and its most illustrious ci tizens which included political and intellectual elites. It was its coverage of singular events in the late colonial/early Republican times however that proved influential in shaping the ideas and discourse around the notion of a Cuban nation. 69 These earl y periods of media development would soon give way to times of strong nationalistic, populist, and even socialization movements. 70 The influence of magazines such as El Figaro on Bohemia cannot be overstated. Its groundbreaking coverage of events such as the end of the first US occupation, the 1906 revolution aimed to oust President Tomas Estrada Palma and the 1908 election that Cubans hoped would usher in a new sovereign era, was framed by images such as the raising of the 67 Elizabeth Fox Media and Politics in Latin America : The Struggle for Demo cracy (London: Sage Publications, 1988),172. 68 Marrero, Dos Siglo s 51. 69 Iglesias Utset, A Cultural History 106. 70 Ibid., 173.
44 Cuban flag in 1902. El Figaro al so strove to give meaning to historic events in the not so distant past, such as the Ten Years War, the nature of the Spanish colonial regime, and the death and legacy of independence hero Antonio Maceo. 71 It was these methods for catalyzing Cubans aroun d their own distinct historical memory and instilling a sense of pride around the building of former administrator Quevedo Perez made a conscious effort to bring to Bohemia resulting in an overlap of style that wo uld lend an almost instant credibility to the latter. It was easy to see traces of resplendent images of the 1908 election candidates in coverage of the 1912 election. Intimate portraits and stories of political candidates in El Figar o would be copied in Bohemia for years; a stylistic approach to decades of the Republic as serted the illegitimacy of Platttismo and stoked the currents of nationalism that would only grow stronger. Bohemia would also go on to emulate the long features El Figaro would run on anniversaries such as the death of foundational heroes and martyrs such as Mart and Maceo; stories that sought to interpret their legacies for new generations of Cubans. 72 El Figaro published a splashy tribute to the fallen hero that was became known for its printing of the alleged suicide letter of Panchito Gmez, the son of the chief of the Rebel Army Mximo Gmez, who died alongside Maceo in battle in 1896. The printing of primary sources such as the 71 Ibid., 106. 72 While the early editions of Bohemia resurgence in 1910 in archive in its Havana location. Editions of El Figaro from the late 1900s are in Miami, Florida.
45 alleged suicide note, as well as photographs, documents and manifestos involved the reader in nation with a proud historical past. Robert C. Nathan notes how images of the Maceo Gmez union served to represent ra cial unity and to obscure or co 73 White Cubans edited historical past in mainstre am publications by proudly adhering to Bohemia eath, 74 But the printing of primary sources and documents in magazines like El Figaro and Bohemia presented Cuban readers with the opportunity to edit the past for them selves. The proliferation of alternative representations of Maceo, and the Maceo Gmez union in the 1920s and 1930s are a a testament to the empowering potential of these unedited documents and sources to shape and frame Cubans perception of their history and of themselves. No less influential on Cuba y Am rica which in the 1890s had covered high society events that served as veritable fundraisers for the coming war for independence. 75 Known as la croni ca social these pages, pregnant with patriotic fervor that extolled the cause of Cuba Libre would be replicated in the early years of Bohemia where female agency was often wedded to the cause of devotion to patria ; as is page spread on the revolutionary bona fides of her native Camagey province. 73 Hill: University of North Carolina, 2007), 58. 74 Ibid., 59. 75 Guerra, Myth of Mart, 78.
46 The success of the magazine format in publications like El Figaro and Cuba y Am rica likely inspired the proliferation of magazi nes in the 1910s that featured glossy photographs, the winded essays on meanings of patria The latest technological innovations, such as the machine that would allow color printing known as la tricom a we re pioneered in Latin America by Bohemia in 1914 and would revolutionize magazine printing. That year also witnessed the beginning of the sugar boom when Cuba became ar I. Sugar prices continued to rise and Cuba enjoyed a time of unprecedented prosperity known as the Dance of the Millions (1914 1921). A surge of newspapers and magazines, both general interest and more specific, hit newsstands. By the early 1920s Havan a alone enjoyed a plethora of publications that included fourteen dailies of a general or political character; approximately seven dedicated to covering commercial or merchant information; fourteen that focused on various immigrant communities that lived i n Havana; and around fifteen so called little political periodicals known as periodiquitos polticos 76 What makes this amount of news publications even more impressive is gazines were those of a general interest, known as variedades which included El Figaro and Bohemia and would be joined in 1916 by the new venture of a young talented illustrator and characiturist named Conrado W. Massaguer. The magazine Social (1916 193 3; 1935 1938) aimed to reach what was then an expanding haute boirgeiosie class; a group Massaguer parodied in his famous caricatures. That same year, the Institute of Graphic Arts opened in Havana, and it was there in 1919 that Social would make history b 76 Amaya, 2003, 86.
47 77 The success of Social prompted the launching of Carte les (1919 1960), a magazine likely modeled on Bohemia which Massaguer and his brother Oscar hoped would reach a broader and less elitist audience. 78 After the US occupation of Cuba ended in 1902, Cubans viewed the press as the primary vehicle to help them build links between national identity and the Republic Cubans looked to the press to help them shape their respective definitions of Cuban nationality while the press defined national identity per prevailing political and cultural characteristics. 79 The press promoted visions of nationhood and varying approa ches to Cubanidad political system. As early as 1905 the newspaper La pol tica c mica debuted the character of Liborio, the quintessential Cuban country bumpkin, or guajiro that was emblematic of the ideologically ambivalent Cuban of the first two decades of the Republic. 80 By the 1920s, the tension between the press and the governments of Alberto Zayas (1921 1925) and the autocratic rule of Gerardo Machado (1925 1933) would reflect the tension between multiclass elements of C uban society and corrupt, oligarchic governments that were all too willing to allow US political and economic imperialism to flourish on the island. As Louis Prez notes, the emergence of a Cuban entrepreneurial class served to give shape to a new politica l constituency that was increasingly susceptible to the appeal of economic nationalism 81 77 Smorkoloff, Readers an d Writers in Cuba 113. 78 Alejo Carpentier, Crnicas: arte, literatura, politca: Volume 8 (Havana: Siglo Veintinuo Editores, 1985), 3. 79 Patricia Pardias Barnes, Jorge Ma ach: Prensa, periodismo y comunicacin, Encuentro de la Cultura Cubana 21 22 (summer/fall 2001), 3 80 Marrero, Dos Siglo s, 55. 81 Prez, Cuba: Between Reform and Revolution 232 233.
48 That tension would soon erupt into a full scale confrontation between the pre regime. It would also irrevocably alter the content of many of these magazines to include biting social commentary. A budding nationalist sentiment at home, coupled with International events such as the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the R ussian Revolution of 1917, combined to exacerbate tensions between Cubans and the state, and perhaps more importantly, tacitly legitimated the use of civil disobedience, and even violence, as a mechanism for effecting revolutionary change. Both revolutions provided ideological currents that permeated Cuban cultural life and would form the basis of a new sense of Cuban nationalism, predicated on notions of populism, social justice, and anti imperialism. The shock waves from the Mexican revolution would reve rbate in the Cuban press. Many Mexican journalists chose to exile themselves in Cuba and contributed aspects of their culture and technological knowledge that envigorated Cuban journalism. 82 Mexican exile Santiago Suarez Longoria went on to become director of El Heraldo de Cuba, a daily founded by journalist Manuel Marquez Sterling in 1913. 83 Mexican exile Querido Moheno brought his acerbic style to the conservative Diario de la Marina where he wrote an article comparing then US president Woodrow Wilson to the diabolical biblical figure of Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest who was the driving force behind sentencing Jesus Christ to death. 84 The comparison drew a fierce rebuke from the US embassy and Moheno resigned from the daily, although he 82 Libro de Cuba: Edicin commemorative del cincuentenario de la independencia, 1902 1952 (Ha vana: n.p., 1954), 679. 83 Ibid., 679. Although Longoria was born in Spain, his made his career as a journalist in Mexico and I classify him as Mexican. 84 Josefina MacGregor, Antologas: Del porfiriato y la Revolucin (Mxico, D.F.: El Colegio de Mxico, 2 015), 101.
49 continued publish ing articles ounder the pseudonym of Javier de Silva, the name of a maternal relative. 85 imperialist bent that would increasingly characterize editorials in the 1920s and 1930s. Consequently, this climate of non conformity, a nd even revolution, presaged the formation of a second republican generation of Cubans who instinctively challenged, and profoundly criticized state structures and injustices; a revolution driven by the press, which was beginning its republican phase as a fourth power of government. 86 Increasingly alienated by republican governments that seemed motivated by the interests of an array of political elites that vied for, and often alternated, the spoils of power, Cubans turned to the press to voice their frustr ations. The abundance of publications, and starting in 1922 the radio, effectively empowered the Cuban citizenry and gave them a voice in criticizing the state and discursive power to elaborate on their own visions of what that state should look like and w hom it should serve. It was no accident, therefore, that the opening salvo of the Cuban cultural war, fired by the second republican generation, was shaped by a young group of Cubans strongly influenced by the journalistic discourse of magazines such as So cial whose offices served as meeting places for weekly salons for men like Ruben Martinez Villena, Jorge Manach, Felix Lizaso, Juan Marinello, and Francisco Ichaso to name only a few. I n 1923 these men, along with seven others participated in an unpreced ented affront to the political elites; a scene that played out in the minister of justice Erasmo Regueriferos Boudet stood up to present an award to Uruguayan 85 Ibid., 101. 86 La segunda generacin repblicana y sus figuras principales Revista Iberoamericana LVI, nmero 152 153 (July December 1990), 1293.
50 writer Paul ina Luisi, Martinez Villena yelled out a denunciation of the Zayas government and proceeded to walk out of the building with twelve others in a shocking event that became known as La Protesta de los Trece 87 The protest signified the eruption of popular di scontent with government corruption, malfeasance, and lack of accountability to the Cuban citizenry. As the economic windfall of the Dance of the Millions receded and a crisis within the University of est not only poltical corruption, but also American economic imperialism and lack of economic diversification, social and racial inequalities, and the continued imposition of the Platt Amendment and its corrosive effect on Cuban national sovereignty. 88 The protest ignited an intellectual movement that immediately led Cub ana, founded in 1923. This organization laid out a set of concrete objectives that were fundamentally based on discursive responses to governmental abuses of power; a framework that would revolutionize public discourse and effectively shift the journalisti c objectives of many Cuban publications. El grupo Minorista would go on to launch its own mouthpiece, Revista de Avance (1927 1930). a set of concrete objectives the public discourse that would relentlessly el grupo Minroista) own mouthpiece, Revista de Avance (1927 1930). Liter ary magazines became not only spaces where Cubans could read about the latest exciting trends in literature, poetry, music, architecture, sculpture and other arts, they became the 87 Pappademos, Black Political Activism 172. 88 Yusleidy Prez Sanchez, Jorge Ma ach, el ABC y el proceso revolucionario del 30 (1920 1935), (Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 2013 ), 41
51 main discursive arena in which Cubans could critically analyze and debate th e latest ideological currents of the late 1920s. 89 consume Cubans of all classes beginning in 1928, magazines like Revista de Avance as well as Carteles and Bohemia empowered Cubans by voicing that discontent and allowing for a resuscitation of seemingly nobler visions of nationhood that included a majority of Cubans, and not just an ever shrinking segment of political elites. The influence of Marxist philosophy, so crucial to the last successfu l revolution in Russia, made its way into the press, where the notion of a class system assumed greater significance and increasingly shaped journalistic discourse. 90 After a three year run, final issue hit newsstands on September 30, 19 30, the Machado decided, for the first time, to censor the press; a n act editors, Marinello chief among them, chose not to challenge and instead closed the magazine for good. 91 Jorge Maach, who had been writing in Bohemia and Diario de la Marina since 1922 and became best known for his biography of Mart, Mart el ap stol later in the 1930s, perhaps best social, economic and political structures of the island. Conscious of the crucial role that a collective sense nat ional identity could play in forging a more democratic and socially just nation, Maach thundered his way into the Cuban consciousness with seminal essays that explored how and why the ills of the first Cuban republic relegated the island to a neocolonial 89 Rosario Rexach, Los Ensayistas de Avance: Francisco Ichaso (New York: Centro Virtual Cervantes), 593. 90 Pardias Barnes, Jorge Ma ac h 235. 91 Rexach, Los ensayista s 593.
52 status that primarily benefited the US and Cuban political elites. 92 He was the first to christen his group with the name Minorista and indeed the first to bring its existence to the Cuban 1924 article in the weekly magazine Social. 93 The choice of the Minorista of a powerful civic minority endowed with the responsibility to effect structural change through a cultural renovation imbued with socio political connotations. Journalism would provide the vehicle from which to inform the Cuban citizenry and shape public opinion. intellectual and popular dissatisfactio n with administrative corruption and his participation in el Grupo Minorista that had sprouted out of la P rotesta de l os T rece 94 enjoyed a relatively brief honeymoon with the press, which initially viewed his administration as a r efreshing change from the excessive American influence and elite corruption that were endemic to the Zayas years. By 1927 however, Machado had altered the constitution in order to s turn toward dictatorship. Lisandro Otero and Sergio Carb led the way in their denunciations of the Machado Revista de Avance would shape journalistic discourse in a way that would help pave the way for the social to incite controversy through his journalistic writings produced the twofold consequence of amplifying his message to a broader audience and heightening his influence across that wider 92 Ibid., 593. 93 Prez Sanchez Jorge Maac h, Social February 1924. 94 Ibid 10.
53 spectrum of Cubans. 95 The power of journalism to influence public opinion and inspire institutional change became painfully clear to the Machado regime by the late 1920s. Just as the econ omic crash rattled global markets and threw capitalism into its deepest crisis, the fourth power of the state became even more influential as it promised to give voice to, and perhaps even validate, popular dissatisfaction with government. Cuban journalist s and editors suddenly found themselves endowed with a new set of responsibilities and obligations that were fraught with new burdens as well. In his pioneering work, Edel Sarmiento Lima documents the press' efforts to report on 1933 period examines the relationship in a specific historic moment. He also examines its relation to social and political actors including political elites, the impact of technology on its evolution and development, and the characteristics of its journalistic discourse as well as the interest in the life and works of writers, columnists and reporters. 96 By documenting how editors such as the young Quevedo of Bohemia and Carb of La Semana were frequent ly jailed by the regime, Sarmiento Lima underscores the importance of these two men and their publications as sources of information for the anti Machado forces in the early 1930s. Machado thus earns the dubious distinction of being the first president of the Republic to regularly use wholesale intimidation and repression to muzzle the press and jail those journalists 95 Jorg Jorge Ma ach (1898 1961): Homenaje de la Naci n Cubana (Rio Piedras: Editorial San Juan, 1971), 27. 96 Edel Sarmiento Lima, La prensa cubana y el machadato (1930 1933) : Un acercamiento a la relacion prensa poder (Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 2014), 1.
54 stringent than that applied by the colonial adminis tration, which would immediately shut down any publication that chose to undermine his regime by using the old method of running a blank column, the blank page over an article suppressed by the censors. 97 In fact, some of the first red flags that had been raised on his regime had come almost immediately after Machado assumed the presidency in 1925. The editor of the newspaper El D a was especially taboo in 1920s Cu ba. Thugs soon murdered Andre as he was leaving his house. 98 editor himself, Quevedo, would experience machadista repression himself by being jailed no less than three times. As early as the 1920s however, journalists had grown in stature to the point that their influence permeated into political circles, a fact that perhaps made Machado all the more anxious the US imposed presidency of Carlos Manuel de Cspedes was overthrown by a coalition of military sergeants and university students who then formed a commission of five men, known as la pentarchia (the pentarchy), to Among those in la pentarchia was Carb, an appointment that underscores the interdependence that had developed between the press and politics. Only days after Machado fled the country and days before he would assume his position within the gov erning pentarchy, Carb wrote the foreword to a book that would victims, a task Bohemia itself would take on twenty five years later wit the 97 Smorkaloff, Readers and Writers in Cub a 42. 98 Alfredo Jose Estrada, Havana: Autobiography of a City (Palgrave MacMillan, 2007), 170.
55 99 Written and compiled by Carlos Peraza, Machado: Cr menes y Horrores de un R gimen f El D Andre, door thus giving the snipers across the time ample time to aim and shoot their target dead, which they did shamelessly, and as Peraza notes coward ly. 100 Peraza goes on to name the publications 101 a detailed account of the repression, noting the frequent silencing of magazines such as Bohemia and the arrests of journalists and editors such as Quevedo and Carbo. The book also details how the revolutionary movement of the early 1930s formed but its im portance lies in its role as a modern Latin American dictatorships, replete with some of the first references to victims as would achieve special notoriety with the Argentine and Chilean dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s. 102 It began to be circulated in Havana four months were pur ged from the University of Havana. 103 99 Carlos A. Peraza, Machado: C rimenes y Horrores de un Regimen: Con un Prologo de Sergio Carbo (Havana: Cultural, S.A., 1933), 1. 100 Ibid., 10. 101 Ibid., 10. 102 Interview with Lillian Guerra by Richard Denis in Gainesville, FL, February 20, 2016. 103 Ana Cairo, Eduardo Chibas: imaginarios (Santiago de Cuba: Editorial Oriente, 2010), 632.
56 The politicization of the working class by the 1920s, in fact, would enable the explosive growth of a publication like Bohemia in the 1930s and 1940s, when the magazine extended its reach not only across the island but across Latin America by amplifying its coverage of regional political events, which were increasingly subject to the whims of dictatorial governments. America. In a country of ro ughly six million inhabitants, there existed between sixty and seventy newspapers. By 1956, even ignoring the magazines and weekly newspapers published in Havana alone (not to mention the bradcasting competitors for advertising and circulation) the twenty one daily newspapers constituted a highly competitive market among themselves. 104 Twenty eight main newspapers had a circulation of 580,000. 105 language and two were English language. 106 Of the remaining seventeen dailies, there were four that led in circulation, number of pages per edition, number of column inches of advertising, sie of physical plant, and number of employees. Founded in 1832, the Diario de la Marina passed over to the Rivero family when Nicols Rivero ass umed its direction in 1884. 107 Traditionally tied to the Catholic church and still in the hands of the Rivero family, Diario de la Marina towed a conservative line at the same time that it gave voice to a wide range of opinions, including those of the Commu nists. Founded El Mundo pioneered the notion of a newspaper as a corporate entity, as opposed to an affiliation with an individual/family or political party. 104 Nieman Reports Vol. X No. 2 (April 1956) 17. 105 Hugh Thomas, Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), 1137 106 107 Libro de Cuba 690.
57 se it incorporated tactics such as the supplanting of front page advertising by news, and the notion of a larger extended Sunday edition, by the 1950s it was controlled by the powerful Barletta family, which tended to sympathize with Batista. Originally st arted in Diario de la Marina offices in 1931, the daily Informacin went on to become the largest newspaper in terms of page length. By the early 1950s its daily editions were between 36 and 48 pages and on Sundays the paper was between 90 and 100 pages in Santiago Claret was an iron fours at the 108 ich proclaimed to defend the principles of liberty and democracy as Carb has conceived them throughout his journalistic career. Started in 1941 shortly after the establishment of democracy vis the various political tendencies, although it exhibited a left of center ideological bent. 109 Other publications such as El Pais El Cris ol and Excelsior competed with the more established dailies by using subscription lotteries to boost circulation. 110 closest competitor in terms of weekly circulation was the magazine Carteles (1919 1960) which by the 1950s featured less politica l content and instead more cultural content. Although many of the publications in this crowded field were in often in the pocket of the government du jour it is 108 Gaston Baquero, Ensayos selectos (Madrid: Verbum, 2015), 403. 109 Libro de Cuba 693. 110 Ibid., 1173.
58 re number of radio stations in the country was 156; the number of newspapers w as also high, and 111 Vidaillet notes, in addition to press censorship, Batista also restricted the domesti c circulation of The New York Times and The Miami Herald tactics that aimed both to muzzle criticism and de a regime that was as corrupt as it was tone deaf to the calls for an acceptable solution that would return Cuba t o a de jure government. Batista reportedly spent $450,000 monthly on bribes and subsidies to the press. Even the well respected daily El Mundo receieved a monthly check for a thousand pesos directly from the Presidential Palace. 112 The fundamental problem for the Cuban institutional continuity, political stability, ec onomic development, social justice and national 113 111 The Media in Latin America edited by Jairo Lugo (New York: Open University Press, 2006), 117. 112 Revista de la Universidad de Oriente no 67, (December 1987), 112. 113 Ibid., 118.
59 Amidst the whirl of press corruption, only Carb of Prensa Libre and Quevedo of Bohemia steadfastly refused to compromise their journalistic integrity. It is to the story of the latter public ation and how it came to identify itself as a publication in the service of the Cuban nation that this work now turns.
60 CHAPTER 3 BALUARTE DE LA IDENTIDAD NACIONAL: A BRIEF HISTORY OF BOHEMIA Siempre Adelante: Miguel Angel Quevedo Prez (1908 1926) Amid the se cond US intervention in and literary content vv cultural and literary content (in keeping with the tradition of early twentieth century Cuban magazines), was founded by the former editor of the popular magazine El Figaro Miguel Angel Quevedo Prez. Quevedo Prez intended to emulate the formula for edition. 1 While t he historical context of the second US occupation (1906 1909) is fundamental to understanding the nationalist sentiments that began to stir in the nascent Cuban middle classes (principal among them that any type of home rule was preferable to another US occupation) political sphere. An inveterate opera lover, Quevedo Pe rez named his new magazine after his La Boheme Financial troubles hounded Quevedo Perez however and after only a handful of issues, the magazine folded and he returned to El Figaro where he was let go after being denied his request of a five day leave to attend to the birth of his first child, Miguel Angel Quevedo de la Lastra. 2 Disappointed at the failure of his Bohemia Quevedo Prez decided to temporarily forgo his dream of es tablishing his own magazine alongside the likes of El Figaro Forward Always !), he decided to remain in journalism and went to work as editor of 1 Bohemia Bohemia May 5, 1978. 2 Bohemia May 10, 1953, 139.
61 Letras (1905 1914; 1918) another important (but now mostly forgotten) bi weekly magazine particular school 3 After two years a s its editor Quevedo Perez decided the time was now more propitious, and he a bit wiser, and prepared to relaunch Bohemia on May 7, 1910. 4 His experience at Letras independence, its freedom fro m governmental intrusion that would also become hallmark; foundational principles that would only strengthen with time and guide the magazine through the next tumultuous fifty years. His experiences at both El Figaro and Letra s had provided Queve do Perez not only with examples of formats and principles that made a magazine both successful and prestigious, but also with valuable contacts that came only from the intimate familiarity and direct contact he had had with the best literary and artistic t alent of the young republic. In the wake of the American withdrawal from Cuba in 1909, the incoming Taft administration recognized that stability (and perhaps more importantly, US interests) in Cuba would be more effectively achieved by unleashing economi c as opposed to military forces. This the US could better guarantee its interests (and ensure its own economic prosperity) by flexing its economic muscle in gr relationship between economic prosperity in the United States, on the one hand, and economic expansion and stability, in the Caribbean, on the other, was indissolubly linked in the policy 3 Letras December 15 30, 1906, 1. 4 Bohemia January 2, 1927, 1.
62 5 The restoration of Cuban sovereignty in 1909, Perez continues, coincided with this new foreign policy approach. 6 Another consequence of the second occupation was the destruction of the potential for popular nationalist stru ggle, which sought to broaden politician participation to include popular class Cubans. In addition to p olitical elites from both the Liberal and Conserva tive parties, the popular classes also viewed US imperialism as a mechanism for sectoral gain. But US imperialism effectively guaranteed the inaccessibility of political participation for the popular 7 Lillian Guerra argues that this resulted in the supplanting of hegemonic nation state by a hegemonic US neo colony. 8 When Bohemia reappeared on newsstands in 1910 (on the second anniversary of its original launch) it did so in a revamped version that aimed to compete in a market saturated with El Figaro Letras and Revista Bimestre Cubana In sticking to the proven format of its predecessors and drawing inspiration from foreign magazines such as r ation in Paris and La Esfera in Madrid, the re launched version featured mainly literary and 9 T o promote the magazine and increase its readership, Bohemia sponsored events such as poetry and musical talent contests. It was in this way that Bohemia began to involve the reade r and potential future 5 Louis Perez Cuba Under the Platt Amendment, 1902 1934 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press), 112. 6 Ibid., 116. 7 Guerra, Myth of Mart 254. 8 Ibid., 257. 9
63 The Partido Revolucionario (after 1895) the pro imperialist nationalist run Patria set Libre in all its ideological representations and programmatic manifestat which included a distinctly Cuban form of artistic and literary works. 10 The nationalist tendencies that intensified after the second US occupation were reflected in civic campaigns by Quevedo Prez that sought to assert and inspire Cuban agency in the music, with his zeal to promote a distinct brand of Cuban culture and art that was proudly criollo Within a couple of months Quevedo Prez began to feature a songsheet of a Cuban song in the pages of Bohemia. With names like La Bayamesa the songs were either patriotic hymns or tunes that expressed criollo themes. Indeed, from the earliest days, Bohemia billed itself as a magazine that promo ted a budding cultural vision of Cubanness, known as Cubanidad The magazine, although it was limited to three thousand copies at first, soon gained recognition for the its promotion of criollo culture and arts to inspire nationalistic pride in a republic that was not even a decade old and was still recovering from its second bout with US occupation. Although Quevedo Perez stuck with cultural and literary content, cultivation of a distinctly Cuban lens into the burgeoning national cultural arts attracted the 10 Perez, On Becoming Cuban 44.
64 At a banquet in 1911 to celebrate the first anniversary of Bohemi re launch, the guest speaker was a writer and journalist who also happened to be the vice president of the Republic, Alfredo Zayas. In an impassioned speech before an audience that included Quevedo Prez and various Bohemia writers and editors, Zayas s tirred nationalist sentiment in the crowd by recalling that he too, like Bohemia had struggled to find a voice in the artistic and literary arena, except that he had done so under colonial repression. He urged fledgling Cuban artists and writers that in t propagating a true sense of Cubanidad they were also helping build a distinctly Cuban nation in the process. 11 Quevedo Prez could not agree more. He sought to strengt artistic identity by encouraging young Cubans to become more pro active and assertive in its construction. Contests and campaigns meant to promote the idea of building on a Cuban nationalist cultural identity encouraged the young and inexperienced artists of all disciplines to showcase their talents in competitions such as the one held at the Gran Teatro Politeama less than a year after the anniversary banquet. The gala, which honored a juvenile poetry contest aimed at inspiring and d iscovering young talent, once again featured the eloquent words of Vice President Zayas, who seemed to revel in the presence of such a wealth of Cuban talent and waxed poetic on the importance of strengthening the sense of Cubanidad ar ts scene. The vice president and erstwhile poet applauded decision to limit the contest to the young and amateur to compete: 11 onunciado el 28 de mayo de 1911, from Obras Completas Vol. III: Discursos y Conferencias, Segundo Tomo (Havana: Molina y Compania, 1942), 34 35.
65 La revista Bohemia, cuyos esfuerzos laudables en pro de nuestra cultura son evidentes y constants, ha querido formular este llamamiento limitandolo a determinados individuos s del progreso y de la un nombre mas que sea timbre glorioso en la historia de su pais. 12 blic officials already recognized the power a magazine like Bohemia celebrated and courted that power. Quevedo Prez also effectively began to wed Bohemia to social causes that drove civic action and inspired the politici zation of Cubans. On Three Kings Day of 1913, a massive festival took place to collect and distribute toys of every kind to poor Cuban children. 13 In what would be Prado, decorated with hundreds of Cuban flags. Most were parents holdi ng on to their excited children, the first generation born free from colonial dominion, some of them undoubtedly anxious to grab more prosperous classes who got the opportunity to contribute directly to their fellow Cubans. Through acts like these, Cuban people began to view Bohemia as more than just a magazine. Quevedo Prez consciously molded his young publication into an institution willing and capable to enga ge in what he soon equated with as a sense of civic duty. Through Bohemia, Quevedo Perez not only encouraged citizen participation, he rewarded it. exceptionality is 12 Ha Obras Completas Vol. III: Discursos y Conferencias, Segundo Tomo (Havana: Molina y Compania, 1942), 48. 13
66 rooted in both the influence it could exert on Cuban public opinion and its abil ity to involve the reader in discovering and interpreting both historic and current events. To many Cubans, Bohemia was itself an institution within the institution of the press. then the On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality and Culture contends that the lar ger significance of civic 14 a familiarity and a fondness for US customs through service clubs and social organizations is undeniably true, however he is often wont to dismiss Cuban agency in the construction of Cuban identity, nationality and in this case its institutions and emphasize US imperialism. The Boy Scout movement started i n England in 1908 and influenced the creation of a chapter in the US in 1910. By 1913 at least fifteen countries had established scout movements. Quevedo Perez had closely followed the movement as it spread from England, the US, and Canada to countries as far as India and Thailand. Impressed with the worldwide phenomenon, in early 1914 Quevedo Perez directed Bohemia to lead the campaign to establish a chapter of the Boy Scout movement in Cuba and began publishing articles with detailed illustrations that to uted the advantages of the world wide movement. 15 In its February 1 edition Bohemia invited all Cubans interested in the movement, known as los jovenes exploradores to gather in the Salon de Conferencias in its offices on calle Habana 14 P erez, On Becoming Cuban, 396 397 15 Pan American Bulletin Vol. 47 Nov. Dec. 1918, 395.
67 80. 16 Two weeks late r offices were swarmed with Cubans of all classes, including various notable personalities who had become interested in the movement after reading coverage. Quevedo Perez himself helped write the statutes and began scouting activities. Only three months later los jovenes exploradores were a reality as troops of Cuban 17 In 1927, los jovenes exploradores would become the Asosiacion de Scouts de Cuba (AS C) and continue and the Cuban boy scouts would have offices in the Bohemia building for many years. 18 The year 1914 would prove to be a pivotal year for Bohemia for t he magazine had finally begun to make a profit. Making a move that reflected its new prestige and prosperity, offices moved from their small quarters on Habana 80 in Old Havana to their own building on Trocadero 89, 91, and 93, near the main shop ping street on Galiano. Three separate addresses growing business as well as new technologies. The spatial move from old Havana to the more modern Centro was emblematic of in Latin American journalism; a role it embraced through business and growing popularity allowed the magazine to expand to forty pages and even though it was sti ll only distributed in Havana, its weekly circulation had doubled to ten thousand. 19 16 17 18 19 Manuel F. Alonso, Cuba Before the World: A Comprehensive and Descriptive Account of the Republic of Cuba From the Earliest Times to the Present Day (Havana: The Souvenir Guide of Cuba Co., 1915), 169.
68 Bohemia also became the first press organ in Latin America to use process color separation, a technology that helped reproduce optimal color images. 20 days began to dovetail with the economic prosperity flooding the circulation increased and its reputation for publishing high quality literary and artistic content grew more prestigious Quevedo Perez ventured into featuring political content by deciding to include allegorical 21 A new visit soldiers on the war front. Through this characteristic form of criollo humor, readers were introduced to the First World War through visual representations created by Bohemia. 22 Not content to influence Cubans through visual images, Quevedo Perez decided to take a more pro active role in supporting the Allied cause, which C uba officially joined when Cuba declared war on Germany on April 7, 1917, the same day the US did. In its May 18, 1918 edition, as German submarines lurked in Atlantic waters and threatened to sink Allied or neutral ships, Bohemia began its campaign to rai se money to purchase six submarines, each of which 23 General Emilio Nunez, who would be assuming the vice presidency after a contested election that almost invited another US occupation, instantly supported the idea, and was appointed to head a commission of 20 21 Revista Goliardos Ao 21 nmero XVIII, (2014), 37. 22 Ibid., 37. 23
69 distinguished Cubans which included Quevedo Perez as a member. President Mario Garcia Menocal immediately donated $1,200 to campaign, which aggressively promoted the idea in its pages and helpe d raise money by helping to sponsor poster and poetry contests. Conservatory, organized a concert to help support and raise funds for cause. 24 prestige wa s such that Cuban elites rallied to support missions such as the purchase of nation. o 1920s still mostly comprised of the middle and upper classes, he could make a profit. As Louis Perez notes, the placement of Cuban students in North American s chools itself became a lucrative business and in 1920 Quevedo Prez established an office in New York to answer the many inquiries about US colleges and universities. 25 called Dan ce of the Millions led to a severe economic crisis. Political protests against administrative corruption augured the increased politicization of Cubans and thus interest in the type of content Bohemia was known for waned. New competition also cut into Bohe Social and Carteles had established themselves as magazines known for the brilliance of their graphic arts and Carteles expanded in 1924 from a monthly to a weekly 24 Ibid., 140. 25 Perez Jr. On Becoming Cuban 406
70 and began to feature editorial content. 26 Along wi th its content, its lower subscription price increased its appeal to the popular classes who by the mid 1920s were increasingly interested in reading about the news as well as the more frivolous content for which magazines of general interest were known fo r at the time. for theCirculation fell precipitously and by 1926 Bohemia was selling only four thousand copies a week, almost what it had sold when it began its distribution in earnest in 1910. Economic hardship and the increasing irrelevance of its conten t forced Quevedo Perez to re evaluate viability in the fall of 1926. Depressed and struck with a heart lesion that physically exhausted him, Quevedo Perez made the heart wrenching decision to cease publishing Bohemia by the beginning of the follo wing year. Nuestro Director: Quevedo the Son Takes Over (1927 1952) It was on a walk to the post office one brisk December morning in 1926, that Quevedo Prez decided to break the news of impending shutdown to his eighteen year old son Miguel Angel, known as Miguelito Financial troubles and exhaustion from his illness, he reasoned with the younger Quevedo, were forcing him to shut down the magazine within a few weeks. The son then pleaded with his father to reconsider and if not, to give him a chance to run the publication and turn a profit again. Quevedo Perez demurred but then found himself saying, 27 Only eightee n years old, the precocious young Quevedo was anxious to leave his imprimatur on a magazine that had billed itself at the most influential voice in Cuban culture for almost twenty years; the 26 Wendy M. Martinez Zuferri, Palos para el asno: discurso periodistico de la oposicin antimachadista en los editorials de la revista Carteles (noviembre 1924 abril 1930), (Havana: University of Havana, 2012), 61. 27 Ibid., 147.
71 vehicle that championed the best of Cuban literature and art. 28 I t would not take long for him to have the opportunity to do so. The handing over of Bohemia from father to son became official on January 1, 1927 and in Cuban fashion, king abdicating in favor of his son the prince. editorial threw down a gauntlet, wedding Bohemia to a larger and more grandiloquent cause, the patrimony of the nation: El hijo posee la misma hidalguia que el padre, el mismo amor a lo bello, a lo spiritual. Hay en su retono, las mismas ansias de laborar por la cultura patria que alentaron a Quevedo hace 18 anos, a fun dar esta Revista. El cambio, pues, de 29 Having established the succession as a mere cosmetic change, an update of the model that had m ade Bohemia successful in the first place, Quevedo the son continued his studies at the for the continuation of Bohemia The social, political, and economic climate could not have been more propitious. intellectual elite ch Th e young Quevedo brought a youthful new vifgor 28 Bohemia January 2, 1 927, 1. 29 Ibid., 1.
72 to the content and style of the magazine and immediately began instituti ng significant chan ges Thinly veiled jabs at the re elecc ionista fever year old rule began popping up in satirical cartoons t hat 30 engineering of the constitution to allow Machado, who had run on the campaign promise of a single term, to run for another (even crisis. Only two months after tak ing over from his father the younger Quevedo authorized an editorial that accused the Machado government of becoming more interested in cabarets than in the grave economic woes faced by Cuban industries thanks to a lack of legislative protection. Bohemia a lso began to preview an anti imperialist stance that would solidify its credentials as a publication in the service of patria and call into question the inherent injustices that pervaded in solo ha celebrado un 31 As economic and political crises convulsed the nation Bohemia also began to appropriate the legacies of historical figures by tying its own histo ric mission to the sacrifices of foundational heroes such as Jos Mart, Antonio Maceo and Mximo Gmez. These heroes became regular fixrues on covers and the historical events in which they were protagonists were regularly interpreted in articles by journ alists and in editorials. This attempt at recovering historical memory in order to lend meaning to current events was a formula that Bohemia would 30 election. 31 Bohemia March 20, 1927, 1.
73 continue to use into the 1940s and 1950s and employ continuously in confronting Batista through its editorial line. illness, a heart lesion that had been diagnosed as terminal. On November 19, 1929, the end finally came for the founder of Bohemia who had decided to end his own sickne ss and suffering by committing suicide, an act that was still taboo, if pervasive, in the Cuban society of the 1920s. As Lillian Guerra notes, there existed a Cuban national obsession with martyrdom as the most genuine proof of nationalism, which may have been what Quevedo Perez had envisioned as his final act in defense of la patria 32 To Die in Cuba: Suicide and Society explores the distinction between the various modes of self destruction and their relation to combination of appeals both to self interest and selfless impulse, bu t most of all through the 33 Cuba had the dubious distinction of possessing the highest suicide rate in Latin America; a rate that peaked in the years between 1928 and 1933, a fact that can be attributed to the extreme economic convulsions the island was experiencing after the bust of the sugar boom. 34 Public suicides in the name of patria were worthy of respect and even veneration as the statement from Colonel Avelino Sanjenis upon hearing o 32 Guerra, Myth of Mart 33 Louis A Perez, Jr. To Die in Cuba: Suicide and Society (Chapel Hill & London, 2005), 81. 34 Ibid.,
74 35 But the subject was still taboo enough regarding the notion of private advertisements warning against suicide were even featured in pages throughout the 1920s. 36 Perez elaborates, however, that old age for men was often accompanied by withdrawal to an activity that had 37 Men, Prez continues, were especially susceptible to the despair and demoralization that accompanied the onset of afflictions and infirmities associated with aging. 38 Quevedo Prez had left Bohemia prior because the illness had been rendered terminal, yet he continued to suffer for years as he Whatever Quevedo absolutely no mention of suicide was ever made in the countless tributes to its founder in pages. But the younger Quevedo was nevertheless motivated to continue and build on the sense of duty and sacrifice his father had instilled in him and became convinced that service in defense of la patria was needed more than ever. education. Queved o took over the reins of Bohemia amid a wide ranging debate, especially among a new generation of Cubans, about the cultural and political crisis of Cuban and Latin 35 Ibid., 83. 36 Ibid., 250 252. 37 Ibid., 151. 38 Ibid., 152.
75 American modernity. 39 As the young head of Bohemia Quevedo found himself with a powerful ve hicle in which to shape political discourse and incorporate the masses as social, political, and economic forces into the emerging constitutional crisis that would explode int o a full fledged social revolution six years later. Just as Cubans began to politicize themselves, Quevedo politicized Bohemia An article deemed incendiary by the dictatorship landed Quevedo in the notorious Principe jail in December of 1930, the first of three arrests perpetrated by the regime. These repressive measures experiences that would shape political content, editorial line and crystallize the armed insurrection in the town of Gibara in 1931 (which gained notoriety for being the first and only town which was simultaneously bombar ded from land, air and sea by the Cuban armed forces) included graphic testimonies from Gibara residents, the first time a publication had printed such documentary evidence from the victims themselves. 40 Extensive coverage of who had been victims of the dictatorship. A politicized Cuban public was reading and subscribing to Bohemia in greater numbers than ever befo re. 39 Robert Whitney, State and Revolution, Mass Mobilization and Political Change, 1920 1940 ( Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 2001 ), 14. 40 Taped interview with Ciro Bianchi Ross by Richard Denis in Havana, Cuba, June 25, 2015. See also Hugh Thomas, Cuba: The Fight for Freedom,
76 1940) nationalistic aspirations. Nationalism thus became the umbrella under which the social and political possibilities for the nation resided. 41 In April 1930, Quevedo decided to commit more vociferously to the feminist cause by launching what Bohemia st as national unrest began 42 Politically diverse family, social, and national matte rs. Within the span of a few years feminists had established 43 Aurelia Castillo de Go certainly not the first time a woman had written for Bohemia Before first ill fated launch in May 1908, Quevedo Perez had decided to tap Avelina Correa, widely considered to be the f irst professional female journalist in Cuba, to write for the magazine, which she did until 1918. 44 Her writings on pioneering female writers of the eighteenth century became veritable history lessons of feminine journalism at a time when feminism and the w legal reform began in earnest in patriarchical Cuba. As Cuban women contested suffrage rights in the late 1920s, Bohemia made a move that 41 Emilio Bejel, Gay Cuban Nation (Chicago: Univer sity of Chicago Press, 2001), 65. 42 K. Lynn Stoner, 1940 (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1991), 59. 43 Ibid., 59. 44 Nuez Machn, Mujeres en el Periodismo Cubano 43.
77 was unprecedented in the mainstream press: it committed itself not just to the notion of feminism but radical feminism, by employing the radical Ofelia Rodriguez Acosta as its leading voice on the cause. One of the most important (and prolific) literary figures of her day, but often ticles, and interviews 45 A member of the group that shaped the political and cultural discourse of the island between 1923 and 1933, the storied segunda generacion republican a, Rodriguez Acosta was not merely content to campaign for suffrage, she in fact fearlessly proposed such then radical notions such as free love, homosexuality, political honesty, class equity, women interpretation of the traditional family and a rejection of the utilitarianism of the modern world. 46 She had also been one of the first to ished protest of the murder of its first victim, Armando Andre in 1925. 47 In an editorial the week of April 6, 1930 Bohemia explained the importance of its cause. El feminismo es una de las cuestiones mas trancendentales de nuestra epoca. Su triple accion politica, social e intellectual se intensifica y se expande mas cada dia. BOHEMIA ha concedido siempre una atencion especial a los derechos de la mujer, aunque de una manera intermitente. Nuestra entusiasta acogida a la campana feminist, ha d 48 45 Ibid., 47. 46 Ibid., 50. 47 Peraza, Machado: Crimenes y Horrore s, 10. 48 Bohemia April 6, 1930, 25.
78 the editorial In her first article of tale that shone a feminist perspective on Buddhism. By attacking patriarchical societies and religious injustice s against women, Rodriguez Acosta challenged norms imposed by organized superficial su esclavitud. Ni es nada honrosa para el hombre sea un Juan de los Palotes, s ea el 49 Men, whether religious deities or not, were neither holy nor honorable if they persisted in subjugating women. The lesson was one Rodriguez Acosta would demonstrate in her For the next two yea rs, Rodriguez Acosta would use her weekly column as a platform 50 1930 Rodriguez Acosta, along with other leading feminists, column, she wrote that the and even become a protago nist in Cuban public life. With this attitude, Cuban women, Rodriguez Acosta argued, had run the same risks as men did and in the process had conquered 49 Bohemia April 13, 1930, 1. 50 Stoner, From the House to the Streets 99.
79 her liberty, independence and right to full citizenship. 51 space for radical feminists such as Rodriguez Acosta underscored evolving role as a vehicle for national dialogue on social causes such as feminism with the hopes of facilitating political, social and cultural world of 1930s Cuba. 52 Just as founder had embraced nationalistic art forms, the younger Quevedo embarked on a campaign to promote alternative forms of what could and should be considered a Cuban art form. White Cu ban intellectuals had begun embracing the significance of Afro Cuban culture in a movement that emerged in the 1930s known as afrocubanismo To not only validate African based culture but explain their importance to Cuban culture to readers, Bohemia featur ed myriad articles and stories written by renowned intellectuals such as Fernando Ortiz and Gerardo del Valle who were white and Manuel Cuellar Vizcaino who was black. In the late 1940s and early 1950s Bohemia explored and even celebrated the new Cuban nat ionalism by presenting Afro Cuban religions as a concrete syncretic relationship between enduring persecution of Afro 53 While Bohemia was in a sense responding to white intellectual fascination with the African components of Cubanidad, it was one of the relatively few publications in the mainstream press that reported on and even romanticized Afro Cuban religions at that time. As Melina Papp ademos shows, black intellectual and civic activist willingness to see politics through a racial lens with a new concern for all things black stretched 51 Bohemia October 12, 1930. 52 feminist de Bohemia (1930 1932), from Confluencia Fall 199 5 Spring 199610. 53 Kristine Juncker, Afro Cuban Religious Arts: Popular Expressions of Cultural Inheritance in Espiritismo and Santeria (Gainesville, University Press of Florida, 2014), 32.
80 lo Africano Cuban national culture. 54 In 1949 Quevedo decided to celebrate this nationalistic movement by featuring an image 55 prestige was such that gracing the cover could be considered the ultimate validation for any subject. Articles on popular different spirits o f the dead as well as revealing the pervasiveness, even ubiquity of Spiritist practices in 1950 Cuba. 56 In addition to these various articles on Afro Cuban religious practices Bohemia published short fiction on Afro Cuban religions, pointedly calling each one a cuento cub ano Thus, Bohemia continued its tradition of promoting the notion that Cuban literature and Cuban religious arts were representative of national culture. 57 Bohemia also became the leading voice in the Latin American press against dictato rial governments that began to crop up in the region in a first reverse wave of democratization beginning in the 1930s. Quevedo's opposition to what the magazine termed las dictaduras caudillescas was respected and feared by many Latin American governments Dictators like Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua (1936 1956), Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic (1930 1961), Marcos Prez Jimnez of Venezuela (1952 1958), and Jorge Ubico of Guatemala (1931 1944) became regular features in editorials and stories tha t exposed the brutality of their rule and 54 Pappademos, Black Activis m, 181. 55 Ibid., 33. 56 Ibid., 32. 57 Ib id,. 33.
81 championed democratic transition. After the fall of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, the new Castillo Armas regime was so incensed by what it perceived to be incendiary articles maligning the new junta governmen t that the regime's spokesman felt compelled to defend and justify the CIA led coup that toppled the democratically elected president. 58 In an open letter addressed to Quevedo, the new Guatemalan Minister of Information Enrique Salazr Liekens played on Quev edo's commitment to presenting diverse points of view while stating the regime's reason for such a letter: Es ya proverbial en el continente americano que BOHEMIA tiene por norma dar cabilda al anverso y reverso de la medalla, para que sus miles de lector es de habla hispana conoscan todos los puntos de vista y se forman un concepto exacto de los acontecimientos que les interesan. 59 By praising Bohemia for its journalistic integrity, the Guatemalan dictatorship was pinning Quevedo against a wall. If he di credibility on the line. If he did, then the regime would get its chance to publicly air its propagandistic defense. Debo manifestarle que en Guatemala interesan mucho los comentarios e informaciones de una revista de la categoria moral y periodisctica de BOHEMIA, que sin ninguna duda determina una fuerte corriente de opinion en America Latina. Por esta razn he creido til para la difusion de la verdad enviarle esta carta con informaciones inditas y 58 In the last two years of the Guatemalan Revolution and in the immediate aftermath of the coup that deposed the democratically elected president Jacobo Arbenz (1952 1954), Bohemia amplified and diversified its coverage of the unfolding events sur rounding revolution and reaction in the small Central American country. That emphatic coverage included interviews with former president Juan Jose Arevalo as well as an exclusive with the newly deposed Arbenz by renowned journalist Raul Roa; articles on th e intrigue surrounding mediation efforts by then Cuban president Carlos Prio Socarras to help bridge the increasing divide between Guatemala and Washington; and a sweeping two part feature on the aims and accomplishments of the Guatemalan Revolution spread out over the course of two weeks. The latter feature so incensed Castillo Armas that it he had his iminister of communication pen a biting rebuttal which Quevedo decided to print. 59 Miguel ngel Quevedo, Bohemia August 29, 1954, 52.
82 exclusivas... 60 Rebuttals to perceived negative coverage were common and Quevedo, like he did to Salazar Liekens' letter, often reminded readers of his reasons for allowing the viewpoints of seemingly disreputable figures such as the spokesperson for the new Guatemalan junta: tribuna democrtica si las cerrara a la opinin de quines tienen hoy la responsibilidad de conducir su nacin en medio de una de las ms rec 61 While article and investigative reports garnered the interest of millions of both Cuban and foreign readers it is important to note that the magazine did not just print news stories on the events that swept Cuban history in the twentieth century. It was often a protagonist in those events, a willing key participant that often led the charge in voicing, even demanding social and political change. Cuban (and even Latin American) governments often felt compelled to re spond to perceived slights or negative coverage. If it printed in Bohemia most Cubans would know about it. President elect Ramn Grau San Martin was once so offended by an investigative report on an embarrassing incident at his house that he challenged Qu evedo to a duel (anachronistic even in 1944) to defend his integrity and honor (Quevedo politely ignored the challenge). Sometimes the repercussions resulting from unflattering coverage were more extreme and uppet governments a decade earlier so threatened 60 Bohemia August 29, 1954, 52. 61 Quevedo,
83 henchmen tortured his po playbook: the drinking of a one liter bottle of castor oil, which Cubans called palmacristi. Known as a palmacristazo recipients would often end up in the hospital with severe stomach discomf iture. Indeed, Quevedo was afflicted with stomach ailments the rest of his life. 62 While political coverage came into its own in the context of the vicissitudes of the struggles against first Machado and then Batista, its political journalistic bo na fides were strengthened further in 1943 with the introduction of its groundbreaking section En Cuba which pioneered a new style of investigative reporting that soon made the section the most widely read section in Cuban journalism. The brainchild of j ournalists Enrique de la Osa and Carlos Lechuga, the section became known for its scathing critiques of the corruption and violence that plagued Cuba during the administrations of Ramn Grau and Carlos Pro in the 1940s and 50s. Cuban journalist Marta Rojas, a regular contributor to the section in the 1950s, has rooted this style of investigative reporting, with its emphasis on bringing the reader directly to the scene of the news by offering a detailed description of place (inclu ding who said what as they stood next to whom) as having started not in the United States, but in Cuba and with the En Cuba section. It quickly rose to one of the most read sections of not just Bohemia but of any publication in the country, and helped sol idify status as a continental power in the Latin American media. Bohemia offices soon opened up in New York and its circulation doubled within the span of six years. 63 62 Taped Interview with Pedro Yanes by Richard Denis in Miami, FL, May 29, 2015. 63 Escritores Olvidados de la Republica (Havana: Ediciones Union, 2012), 262.
84 By enlisting waiters, valet parkers, maids and other working class Cubans as informants, En Cuba was also responsible for popularizing the reporting of news events and encouraging the agency of ordinary Cubans. Rojas recalls seeing waiters and shoe shining men pointing to the 64 Cubans thus were able to feel that they were collaborators in the process of exposing the real political situation and circumstances to their countrymen and women. Many of them even felt they were a part of Cuban history. Pedro Pablo Rodriguez, a writer for Bohemia in the 1970s and 1980s recounted in 1978 : 65 The avid readership of the se ction and of the whole magazine underscores the point that public opinion before 1952 should not be regarded as a tabula rasa. In fact, as Lillian Guerra notes, the Cuban literacy rate was, at 66 (100,000) of which were exported abroad. 67 Its estimated readership, which includes not just copies but how many people read the magazine, w as an unprecedented two million. The audience th en, for coverage of 1950s national crisis and subsequent insurrection and revolution was one that was significantly literate and politicized. 64 Ibid., 265. 65 66 Lillian Guerra, Visions of Power : Revolution, Redemption, and Resistance, 1959 1971 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2012), 43. 67 Bohemia May 10, 1953, 85.
85 year rule in the mid 1940s, En Cuba proved crucial to the politicization of Cubans at a time when the island entered its brief albeit colorful democratic phase, when democratically elected governments would squander the hop es that Cubans had for political and social democracy. niche was mirrored in the rise of Eddy Chibs, who became perhaps the most successful Cuban journalist and politician to take on that same corruption and violence that En Cuba exposed on a we ekly basis. Chibs used his articles in publications like Bohemia and his r adio show to protest the corruption of the Autentico administrations structures. Of all of the journal ists and politicians that wrote in Bohemia there was perhaps no better personification of the type of journalistic integrity that Bohemia claimed than Chibs, who was a personal childhood friend of Quevedo since the days both attended Belen Jesuit School as young polemics published in Bohemia The strength of the relationship b etween Chibs and Quevedo (and by extension Bohemia ) was reflected in the esteem in which he held the magazine. Quevedo even made sure Chibs could peruse an advance copy of Bohem ia ; a treat Chibs relished with the giddy enthusiasm of a child receiving an early holiday gift. His longtime Bohemia offices on Trocadero Street on Thursdays, the day the magazine went to print and a full day before it hit newsstands: El llegaba al taller, s e sentaba sobre las resmas de papel o en un taburete viejo manchado de tinta que haba all y se pona a leer los pliegos. Si algo le interesaba, haca como los nios: escondia el pliego en el elastico de las medias, debajo del pantaln o se lo metia en el cinto, debajo de la guayabera para llevarselo, crea que lo hacise hacian
86 a a escondidas de Quevedo y de los operarios de la imprenta, que se hacian los de la vista gorda. En definitiva, Bohemia 68 Chib Bohemia wait to scan his inflicted (and ultimately fatal) gunshot wound. 69 Bohemia in that Bohemia s devotion to his friend of almost forty years inspired him to propose that a monument to him be built him in a passionate editorial Quevedo evokes a history of shared struggle between himself and his friend: Hondos lazos de verdadero afecto y amistad nos unan desde nuestros tiempos Universidad. En las horas de la adversidad, juntos sufr imos injusticias y miserias, y juntos estuvimos en la hora de la bonanza y alegra. 70 Both members of the vaunted Generation of 1930, both Quevedo and Chibs had suffered and been imprisoned in their youth at the hands of the Machado dictatorship, seminal experiences that bonded the two for life. 68 Pedro Prada, La secretaria de la Rep blica (Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 2001), 120. 69 Ilan Ehrlich, Eduardo Chib s: The Incorrigible Man of Cuban Politics (London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), 235. 70 Bohemia August 19, 1951, 93.
87 Having described his own relationship with Chibas, Quevedo goes on to encapsulate the unique relationship between Chibs and Bohemia : En BOHEMIA se hizo Chibs y BOHEMIA fu para l como su propia casa, en todos lo s tiempos. En BOHEMIA encontran cabida, siempre, sus inquietudes y sus empeos de adecentar la poltica nacional. Y en BOHEMIA sin ser rgano de su partido ni de ningn otro comprensivo y la ayuda desinteres ada para proseguir su lucha tesora y valiente contra la desvergenza y la politiquera. En BOHEMIA aparecieron sus mejores artculos, por no decir todos. 71 campaign against desverg enza a word that translates to mean roughly shame but is viewed by many Cubans as something egregiously disgraceful. His use of the idiom por no decir todos implies boastfully that indeed all Bohemia In just one week, offices were flooded with letters asking for more details on the proposed monument and others with actual monetary donations; a response that surpassed d ability to energize citizen participation by tying those efforts to a sense of patriotic duty. Quevedo proposed a administer, and distribute the funds accordingly so that the monument would becom e a reality; a nationalist undertaking much like 72 The use of verg enza which translates roughly to a sense o 71 Ibid., 93. 72 Bohemia August 26, 1951, 77.
88 With its characteristic investigative sense of immediacy, section described the moment when the ma nager of printing press and an old friend of solemnly walked in Bohemia which had yet to hit newstands. En Cuba described the scene and its significance: Durante aos Porto haba visto al lder mximo de su partido leer la Revista a hurtadillas, y le habia entregado los ltimos pliegos impresos un dia antes de salir sta a la calle. El pasado Viernes, como cumpliendo una cariosa obligacin, fu a llevarle por ltima vez su nmero de BOHEMIA; todava sin encuadernar, tal como Chibs acostumbraba a leerla. S e abri la caja para dar cumpliemento a este postrer tribute sentimental. Luego la tapa volvi a cerrarse sobre el rostro sereno y tranquilo como si estuviera durmiendo de Eduardo R. Chibs. 73 hibs was held by Quevedo, who had always made sure Chibs had his advanced copy of the magazine, and symbolized the reverence Chibs held for Bohemia. The e largest weekly circulation of a publication La tin America had ever seen. 315,000 copies were sold in less than an hour. 74 Bohemia the most diversified circulation of any Cuban publication. It had the reputation, the memorandum continued, of being one of the best magazines in Latin Ameri ca. At the end of the description of 73 Bohemia En Cuba section, in Bohemia August 26, 1951, 69. 74 Bohemia, August 26, 1951.
89 Bohemia's 75 The Italian social theorist Antonio Gramsci ism in the 1920s and 1930s, once assigned 76 prominence a nd popularity with the Cuban people fits in with the Gramscian dictum of the importance of media support before the moment of taking power and confirms that the vehicle to build a consensus around the notion of revolution existed and was functional. Pedro Pablo Rodriguez make s a point of noting that Bohemia coup but was the only publication that printed articles by none other than Fidel Castro, who protested his incarceration after his failed attack on the Moncada barracks in 1953. He writes that Bohemia also distinguished itself a s the only publication that printed graphic images and 77 These images, along with the iconic covers that emulated the aesthetic properties of the artistic movements of the day and appropriated from Cuban history (especially the foundational discourse of independence heroes like Jos Mart) were central to the construction of a revolutionary narrative predicated on the notions of liberation, redemption, social justice and national sovereignty. Events historic role played by Bohemia in reporting and analyzing public sentiment on the power of o, who was 75 US State Department, Foreign Service Dispatch, Data Regarding Most Influential Cuban Periodicals 1953, 1. 76 Darling, Latin America Media, and Revolution 7. 77 Bohemia
90 take place. Castro would however obtain something far more powerful than the mantle of the Ortodoxo party. As he watched the throngs of masses that mo urned and cried for Chib, Castro must have wondered if the power of the people and mass movements such as these, aided by a media led by Bohemia would provide a far more effective path to arrive at a revolutionary Cuba. 78 to Chibs would not be realized until many years later, under very different circumstances. In the meantime, Quevedo would be forced to contend with another, even more brutal Batista dictatorship. It is to coverage of the 1950s political crises a nd the many challenges presented by the Batista regime that the next chapter will turn. The 1950s were the zenith of power and prestige and regular circulation would hover at close to half a million by 1958. Quevedo would purchase his closest com petitors, Carteles and Vanidades outright in 1953; dominating the Cuban media market like no other Cuban had done before. 78 Prada, La Secretaria de la Repblica 120.
91 CHAPTER 4 CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY IN CUBA, MARCH 1952 In the midnight hours of March 10, 1952 Fulgencio Batista and his supporters from the army drove through post 4 of the Camp Columbia barracks and staged a coup against the democratically elected government of Carlos Pr o. Few of the men at Columbia were aw are that a small group of conspirators had arranged to facilitate an easy control of the camp. 1 Before dawn, all of Cuba was under the military o, along with his family and close associates, sought asylum at the Mexican emba ssy and left Cuba shortly thereafter. 2 Most Cubans viewed politicians with cynicism and even disgust, but many were not yet year democratic experiemnet and they were in spite of countless warnings by both friends and enemies. 3 Out of twenty Latin American countires, Cuba had shone as a democratic beacon for the rest of the region, especially those plagued with the dictaduras caudillescas Rumors about a military coup had been circulating in the press, however, for months. In early January journalist Mario Kuchiln wrote in his column for Prensa Libre through a second channel, that a conspiracy is brewing between army officers and former military men in plain clothes, and that the date to act would be May 1 st 4 The idea for the coup dissatisfaction with the corruption and graft that had characterized the recent Autentico 1 Raul Eduardo Chao, Three Days in March Washington DC: Dupont Circle Editions, 2013, 2. 2 Marifeli Prez Stable, The Cuban Revolution: Origins, Course, and Legacy (New York and Oxford: Oxford Un iversity Press, 2012), 50. 3 Chao, Three Days in Match 179. 4 Ibid., 159.
92 administrations of Ramn Grau and Carlos Pro. In addition, Batista likely surmised that the violence between criminals and gangsters, which euphemistically termed 'grupos de accin', had further discredited these el 5 Corruption and violence notwithstanding, Cuba had slowly but steadily begun the long path of consolidating a representative democracy that had made it one of the few representative Latin A merican political systems of the last twelve years. The two top contenders for the presidency that year, Roberto Agramonte from the Ortodoxo party and Carlos Hevia for the Autenticos, were two relatively honest, if colorless, candidates in an election (whi ch also featured Batista as a third party candidate) that perhaps could have steered the country in a more American country subject to the whims of another dictadur a caudillesca Cuba back on the path to peace and progress. Having appropriated his own legacy as the transitional figure after the dow el madrugonzao by pretending to represent the transitional figure who would once again save the Republic fr om itself. 6 As Yeidy Rivero has documented, the police had occupied all the radio and television 5 The so called grupos de accin of the 1940s and 1950s were remnants of the student groups of the 1930s that had formed in opposition to Machado and to bring the repressive machad istas which were not brought before the courts, to justice. By the 1940s these groups had essentially degenerated into gangs that sought to defend their turfs, exhorted money, and settled scores. See Perez Stable, The Cuban Revolution 50. 6 The March 10 coup is known by many names: el cuartelazo el golpe del 10 de marzo el madrugonazo el marzato and el golpe de la zunzundamba The latter less known epithet refers to a popular jingle at the time that defined the Afro Cuban word zunzundamba as el pa or the beautiful midnight bird; a reference to the fabled midnight hours in which the coup took place. See Jos Luis Padron and Luia Adrin Betancourt, Batista: el Golpe (Havana, Ediciones Unin, 2013), 60.
93 stations, minister of information met with all radio and television o wners to let them now that they were free to express their opinions if they did not allow private individuals to take to the microphone. 7 Commercial television would resume its regular flow of programs, advertisements, and schedules, but as Rivero has argu 8 The day after the coup however, the opinions of the journalists of the printing press, were swiftly, if cautiously, expressed. Contrary to what Raul Eduardo Chao The self procl newspaper, Diario de la Marina condemned the coup by offering a somewhat mild rebuke. The glories of its social and political existence, which are its freedoms: freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom for political gatherings, freedom of enterprise and freedom of 9 While it implored Bat explicitly justified the coup: We must accept that there were extreme and grave conditions known to the military but not to public opinion and the press. They must have posed a terrible and imminent threat to th e Republic and we believe the Cuban army had to proceed fast ad silently apply this radical remedy that stops the progress of 20 years of Cuban political life. In short, the putsch against the extant government was justified: any other action could not hav e been expected. 10 In spite of its exhortation to the new de facto 7 Yeidy Rivero, Broad casting Modernity: Cuban Commercial Television 1950 1960 (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2015), 65 66. 8 Ibid., 66. 9 Diario de la Marina March 11, 1952, 1. 10 Chao, Three Days in March 180.
94 the country back to constitutional order as soon as possible, Diario de la Marina as it had done in the past with its controversial prono uncements on the deaths of Jos Mart and Antonio Maceo, ignored its self 11 Over on Trocadero street in Central Havana, Quevedo found himself in a quandary the morning of the coup as he faced the unique set of challenges that weeklies faced when presented Bohemia had been edited and set to hit the printing presses by t he end of the day. editors and writers would have to move fast in order to include news on the madrugonazo 12 Quevedo immediately sent his reporters to investigate the happenings at the Camp Columbia barracks and the Presidential Palace and then b egan to coordinate and organize 13 standing opposition to dictatorships and his fervent championing of democratic and nationalistic principles instinctly drove him to prepare for Bohemia what many would consider the loudest angst and his decision to seize control of the government might have been fueled by the results of a r ecent Bohemia survey that had placed him dead last in the polls for the coming presidential elections. 14 The elections had been only eighty days away. 11 Ibid., 180. 12 Taped interview with Pedro Yanes by Richard Denis in Miami, Florida, May 30, 2015. 13 Taped Interiew with Oscar Zangroniz by Richard Denis in Miami, Florida, June 7, 2015. 14 Hugh Thomas, Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), 773.
95 professional and personal messianic understanding of role in serving the interests of the Cuban people by reflecting popular sentiment and staunchly defending the causes of liberty, social justice, and democracy. Moreover, this tradition had been nourished by s myriad campaigns and contests throughout its forty five year existence that sought to promote social causes by engaging and involving a broad range of multi class Cubans to participate in various forms of civic activism. role in helping build a nd strengthen civil society in turn popular print publication. The relationship between democratic tradition and its commitment to involving readers by en society also helped sell more both his own role as a political missionary and the purpose of journalism as a vehicle in which to agitate for political change, which in the context of the early 1950s included revolution. In taking a stand against usurpation of democracy, Quevedo tapped into instincts honed throughout years of opposing authoritarian regimes around the worl d. st and most arduous struggle Confronting el Madrugonazo and the Post Moncada World (1952 1958) editorial. As Diario de tepid response to the madrugonzao underscores fe w press outlets o penly
96 15 That relative silence would be shattered on Thursday when Ultimos Aconcet historic role in the promotion of democracy and repudiation of dictatorships throughout the continent. By evoking Bohe condemnation as its duty and civic responsibility. BOHEMIA tiene una tradicin de lucha por las instituciones democrticas, que no abandonar jams. En todo momento hemos alzado nuestra voz sin apostasies ni temores, contra los regimenes de fuerza qu e constituyen un baldn del continete. Vivamos orgullosos de Cuba fuese una de las pocas naciones de Amrica en que la democracia se practicaba a plenitude. De ahora en adelante ese orgullo ser sustituido por un gran abatimiento, por una honda congoja. T ambien esta patria acaba de ingresar en la serie fatidica de las republicas americanas donde los gobiernos permanecen o se suceden uno a years as a refuge for Latin American revolu supported by then President Grau known as Cayo Confites) were evoked to highlight the shame that had suddenly befallen the former beacon of democracy. The editorial then went on to outline a way out of the morass Batista had suddenly subjected the country to while calling on Bohemi historic support of civil liberties and democratic principles: BOHEMIA reafirma su adhesin a los principios civiles y democrticos que bunden sus 15 For a selective view of how different publications responded to the coup see Chao, Three Days in March, 179 ngs of the various editorials in their entire context.
97 sido un grave error, qu e ha frenado en soco las esperanzas de todo un pueblo para de la Constitucin pueden desarrollarse los pueblos hacia la libertad, la igualdad y la fraternidad. 16 Moreover, the editorial warned, would cast a pall on the long anticipated upcoming Golden Jubilee. In recalling the dashed hopes of the nation, Bohemia was offering its condolences to democracy on Cu not offer a solution to the crisis but instead calls on Batista to do the right thing and return the country to constitutional rule. In the first two months after the coup Batista relied on subtle form s of censorship such as coercive phone calls from Ernesto de la Fe, a little Propaganda, who led the newly established office. 17 De la Fe would request that a certain news item be published or not, and many editors complied out of f ear. Within two months of taking power, Batista resorted to bribing the press and used lottery proceeds to buy the complicity of the press. One of those who was neither afraid nor bought was Quevedo, whose Bohemia continued to relentlessly criticize the de facto nature of the government and press for a solution to the n ational crisis. Perhaps as a result, between August of 1952 and July of 1953 there was relatively little censorship in Cuba. 18 gave civic activism a boost and public platform. W eeks later, this editorial inspired an array of manifestos from students at the University 16 Bohemia March 16, 1952, 51. 17 Transition, Mi ami, Florida, August 2006, 286. 18 Ibid., 187.
98 of Havana and more incisive editorials from Quevedo as we intellectuals such as Jorge Manach. The student directorate of the University of Havana had their most powerful army. The decl aration published in Bohemia was significant in that it placed the university students on the frontline of the opposition to Batista from day one. Indeed, through its many editorials that called for the restoration of democracy and civil liberties and the publishing of documents that took a stand against the Batista dictatorship, Quevedo had also placed Bohemia firmly and squarely on the front line of the media opposition to Batista. Within sixteen months, that resolve would be severely tested. Con Censura: Moncada and the Silencing of the Press (1953) Amid 1953, Batista 's regime received the most coordinated armed attack against it since the coup. Several conspiracies and plots a gainst Batista's regime had been uncovered in early 1953 but even though they lacked coherence and were all stunted, Batista felt threatened enough to postpone elections he had scheduled for that November until June of 1954. Just before dawn on that mid su mmer night in July, Fidel Castro led a band of 135 men and women to storm the or (like Castro) on the run. 19 Young reporter Marta Rojas, who happened to be i n Santiago taking photographs for an assignment heard what sounded like firecrackers just after midnight. Her companion, Bohemia 19 Antonio de la Cova, The Moncada Attack: Birth of the Cuban Revolution (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2007), 119, 250.
99 20 At day and met the editor for the first time, who decided to pay her handsomely for her report and photos and asked her to work for Bohemia convinced they had to 21 Although the attacks ended in spectacular failure they were the most potent threats to the regime thus far and a shaken Batista wasted no time in suspending constitutional guarantees and letting Cubans know this sido mal interpretada; pero eso ha terminado 22 To his point he began to enforce the Law of Public Order, which, among other repressive measures, imposed cen sorship of the press. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Quevedo decided to get around the censor by simply printing the photo montage of the attack and the consequences of the crackdown using the official version of the events that Rojas had obt ained at the press conference by the authorities in Santiago following the attack as the text. It was a brilliant tactical move that allowed the graphic images to pass the censors. 23 The bloody corpses of the dead and tortured needed no interpretation. The brutal crackdown shocked the sensibilities of many Cubans. As other newspapers began to print photographs of the events, Batista applied an even stricter form of censorship and even published the name of Bohemia's censor, which did not allow the magazine t o discuss the Moncada attack until guarantees were restored three months later. 20 Taped interview with Marta Rojas by Richard Denis, Havana, Cuba, June 18 2015. 21 Ibid. 22 Jorge Eduardo Gutierrez Bourricaudy, Los caminos del Moncada (Havana: Editoria Historia, 2013), 173. 23 Taped interview with Marta Rojas by Richard Denis, Havana, June 18, 2015.
100 Bohemia's first editorial on the events surrounding the attack was published in the November 1, 1953 edition. Quevedo once again evoked the centrality of role in the history of the Cuban Republic: La censura de prensa es algo que molesta a lo ms intimo y noble de la conciencia cubana. Por tradicin, por temperamento, por lealtad a la fe de nuestros mayores, el cubano siente la libertad como un bien sin el cual no vale la pena vivir la vida. Lo hemos demostrado todo a largo de nuestra historia. Medio siglo de luchas de sangre, sudor y lgrimas nos cost conquistar una libertad politica, que nada vale si esta limitada por restricciones como las que aca bamos de padecer. El cubano est dispuesto a hacer dejacin de muchas cosas...Pero a lo que no est dispuesto a renunciar, por nada de este mundo, es a pensar en alta v oz y sin hipocresias, como quera Mart 24 Foundational heroes like Mart were once ag ain summoned as the paragons of the most dignified form of cubanidad that Cubans should feel proud to emulate in their struggle against dictatorship. Bohemia and its principles were themselves essential components of that cubanidad Democratic principles w ere not only the legacy of the foundational heroes they were also norms that comprised any civilized society. BOHEMIA quiere reafirmar una vez ms sus principios de siempre, que s o n, a fin de cuentas, la razn de ser nuestra nacionalidad, el legado que no s transmitieron nuestros libertadores y las normas de vida de toda sociedad civilizada. 25 Taking on the most draconian policy of the regime so far, Quevedo was no less equivocal in his reaction to the hated Law De Decreto 997 constituye u no de los esperperpentos juridicos mas extraordinarios que se hayan perpetrado jams contra el derecho y 26 Quevedo once again thrust Bohemia head first into its role as 24 25 Ibid., 69. 26 Ibid., 69.
101 notion of patria Buttressing his political independence was the economic windfall that resulted from the 1953 (with Bat ista still firmly in control of Cuba), Quevedo, never one content to rest on his laurels, decided to purchase two closest competitors outright Carteles and Vanidades which he promised would also be at the service of the Cuban nation. Outgoing which he held both Quevedo and Bohemia but it also presented the Bohemia editor with somewhat of a challenge: Miguel ngel Quevedo ha demostrado su gran habilidad periodistica con el xito de nuestra prensa. Y el nos ha asegurado que Habra de velar con celo infatigable por man tener la tonica y proyecciones constructivas que han caracterizado a CARTELES. El lo puede hacer y abrigamos la absoluta confianza de que EL ASI LO HARA. 27 While he expressed his confidence, Quilez also decided to publicly declare his hope that Quevedo wo uld continue to keep up the quality that had made Carteles the second most popular magazine in Cuba, a challenge that Quevedo met by delegating the direction of his new venture to the able hands of his trusted associate and Bohemia journalist Antonio Orteg a. Both remained at Bohemia, a sentiment that is evidenced by the fact that he expressed so little interest in his new ventures he never once set foot in their offic es. 28 27 Carteles January 10, 1954, 27. 28 Taped in terview with Oscar Zangrniz by Richard Denis in Miami, Florida, June 10, 2015.
102 El Problema Cubano : Dreaming of Democracy and the 1954 Elections his self image and painfully aware of the provisional nature of his rule, sought to bring a vene er of legitimacy to his regime while he sought to quell the clamor for elections by scheduling them for November 1, 1954. The viability of the Cuban political party system however was shaky. nticos and the Ortodox os, were beset by internecine feuds that fractured and put their competitiveness in the future elections on questionable ground. Qu friend for over thirty years, was a fervent Ortodoxo. Although the party had been the strong favorite to win the aborted 1952 elections under the candidacy of Roberto Agramonte, the party had steadily lost its luster since Chib that wer In January of 1954, Aut candidate just as Aut ntico former President Pr o decided to abstain from the elections. Even though the Aut nticos were split, with Pr o firmly in the abstencionista camp, Grau was their undisputed leader. But the Ortodoxos were a different story altogether. Not only could they not agree on who should be their leader, they cou ld not agree on whether they should take the path of civic resistance or join Pr nticos in advocating an armed solution to the crisis. Anxious to see the party of Chib s not lose an opportunity to capitalize on an electoral formula that could dislo dge Batista, Quevedo decided to hold a conference at his ranch, Buenavista, to bring all the la unidad Ortodoxa a reality. Quevedo, who had always sworn he was not now or ever interested in political office n onetheless saw his intervention as not only a necessity but indeed an obligation On February 28, 1954, the week after the Buenavista conference, in which the Ortodoxo
103 factions reached a tenuous agreement to unify under the presidency of Raul Chibas (Edd y Bohemia printed a photo montage of the historic conference and Quevedo himself penned a rare editorial placing himself (and not explicitly Bohemia ) at the center of and ma rtyred Chibas, waxing poetic about his duty to his friend and the country, in explaining his role to readers. En dias anteriores, al demandarse mi concurso a los efectos generosos y pulcros de lograr la unidad en una Ortodoxia fragmentada, no podia incurrir en esquivez o en omisin. Estuve unido a Eduardo R. Chibas, fundador del Partido...por una amistad entraable. Lo menos que podia hacer, en recuerdo devotisimo del Gran Inmolado, era allanar los caminos para que la obra que brotara de su espiritu luminoso...no se dispersara o se quebrantara, especialmente en una hora aciaga de nuestra historia republicana, cuando se requiere, en defensa de nuestra democracia, la presencia de partidos homogenos y fuertes, con densidad de ideales ennoblecidos en su seno y no con la mera acumulacion de apetitos y avideces en su estructura. 29 lasting effect on Ortodoxo party unity it nonetheless demonstrated that even though he did not consider himself a politician, he was certainly not above using his influence as editor to intervene to help the political party he most sympathized with. In this way, Quevedo himself beca me the protagonist in the Cuban political machinations that sought a way out of the national crisis. Solving el problema cubano became a constant theme not just in political coverage, but also in its celebration of holidays such as Christ mas and el problema cubano and reiterate commitment to its readers and Cuba in the process. The centrality of role in helping to shape the Cuban consciousness was never far from his mind, or pages: 29 Bohemia February 28, 1954, 73.
104 Lo que ha querido esta revista, siempre preocupada por su condicion representativa de la opinin nacional, es fijar en una dimension mayor, de suprema importancia humana, el homenaje anual a la paternidad. Ojal nuestro pais, por accin y obra de todas las generaciones de diversas edades, se haga capaz de brindar mana a sus juventudes lo unico que ellas ansian de versa: una patria mas justa y major, como sus fundadores la soaron. 30 re sponsibilities in helping construct a more socially just Cuba, but in the creation of the myth itself. cover on the fourth week of January of any given year invariably featured the apostle of the nation himself, Jose Marti, whose birthday was on the 28 th The first week of December often featured revolutionary war hero Antonio Maceo, who died on December 7. These associations helped construct perceptions of morality, duty and dignity that Bohemia would call upon and encourage Cubans to emulate in the search for the elusive solution to el problema cubano. El Rgimen de las Bolas : Civil War and Censorship ( 1956 1957 ) Although the result of outright fraud, confident about his power and less threatened by the Moncada insurgents and, along with the Congress, passed an amnesty bill that guaranteed the freedom of all political prisoners including Fidel Castr o, who within weeks was in Mexico planning for armed insurrection. On December 2, 1956 Fidel Castro and 81 rebels landed in Cuba to begin their armed struggle against Batista, 31 For the n ext two years 30 Bohemia June 13, 1954, 59. 31 Vidaillet, 28 9.
105 Bohemia issues in between December 1956 and December 1958, only thirty featured news or s de cision to not print any editorial comments at all during times of censorship. An editorial from March 3, 1957 explained his decision. 32 BOHEMIA, de acuerdo con sus normas editorials ya conocidas, ha dejado de publicar todo editorial, todo juicio, todo comen tario sobre la actualidad durante el periodo de censura. Esta inhibicin significaba no slo nuestra protesta contra esa medida, sino que era la nica respuesta digna a ella. No se puede decorosamente opinar cuando no hay libertad para opinar. Y si no hay libertad para opinar sobre cuestiones polticas, lo natural es que no la haya tampoco para opinar sobre las cuestiones sociales, econmicas o culturales. Por eso, para no caer en discriminaciones que, adems de sutiles serian absurdas, BOHEMIA suprimi s columnas desde las cuales se enjuiciaban de una manera independiente e imparcial todos los aspectos de la vida cubana. 33 By choosing to scrap social, economic, or cultural commentary, Quevedo ele vated principled stance above other publications, which did allow for opinionated comments on non political issues. readership numbers and economically hurt Bohemia resulted in a groundswell of interest when the rare uncensored editions did publish between December 1956 and December 1958, resulting in mammoth sized editions and an even greater circulation. This stance also further enhanced the prestige both domestically and internationally, as evidenced by his 34 32 Patricia Calvo Gonzalez, Visiones desde dentro. La insurrection cubana a traves del Diario de la Marina y Bohemia (1956 1958), (Santiago de Compostela: Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, 2014), 363. 33 Bohemia March 3, 1957, 71. 34 Carteles, May 18, 1958, 90.
106 By lifting censorship of the press a week early on February 26, 1957 Batista could shroud Chief of State (President Fulgencio Batista) and his severe devotion to the liberty of the press and freedom of 35 first uncensored edition since the beginning of the armed insurrection in the Sierra Maestra mountains was significant for several reasons. The New York Times had just published Herbert Matthews' story on Fidel Castro. Bohemia was now following suit and would be the first Cuban press outlet to print the story in its entirety. The editorial went on to explain modu s operandi in dealing with the periodic shutting down and lifti ng of constitutional guarantees and accused the regime of suspending civil liberties whenever it perceived it was threatened, a burden shouldered disproportionately by a muzzled press. Por que ese empeo en hacer recaer sobre los periodicos culpas que en manera alguna los conciernan? Pero no podamos aceptar salir a la calle con un criterio dirigido. O expresamos nuestro pensamiento sobre todo con toda libertad, o callamos nuestro pensamiento p ara cuando vengan tiempos mejores y sea possible sacarlo a la luz sin trabas ni disimulos. Esta es nuestra consignia. A ella nos debemos y queremos creer que ella es la mxima garantia de nuestros cientos de miles de lectores. Terminada la etapa de censura BOHEMIA vuelve a ser lo que siempre ha sido: una publicacin independiente, libre de todo partidismo politico, amante y defensora apasionada de la libertad, firme en su doctrina y en su fe democrticas y cuidadosa de que en Cuba se respeta la voluntad ma yoritaria del pueblo y se rinda culto a los derechos humanos. 36 Bohemia at the forefront of the media 35 Vidaillet, 290. 36
107 Quevedo turned the logic for cens orship on its head by explaining that a public without access to information is likely to engage in rumor mongering and falsehoods, what Cubans called bolas making it worse for the regime. el regimen de l as bolas accomplished two things. It belittled the government as one whose tight control on the media encouraged the dangerous spread of rumors that could in turn destabilize the country; and it allowed for Bohemia to present itself as truly Cuban, as wedd ed to promoting Cubanidad even in the face of a regime that had so egregiously violated the constitutionality of the Republic: La censura periodstica, lejos de beneficiar al gobierno que comete el error de dictarla, le causa un perjuicio mucho mayor que e l que pudiera evitarse con el silenciamento de ciertas noticias y opinion e s. Cuando la verdad de todos los dias deja de ventilarse libremente en los peridicos, surgenlas falsas especies, los infundios, los rumores alarmantes, todo eso que en criollo se de censurada. 37 The regime was directly responsible both for the censorship of the press and for whatever forces would be unlea shed because of Quevedo then once again addressed the violations against the press by depicting Bohemia as the perennial watch guard of all freedoms on the island. And lest the regime think it had done the Cuban people a favor by lifting censorship early, Quevedo offered the regime a civic lesson: No basta con que se haya levantado la censura a la prensa. Hay que restituir plenamente las garantias constitucionales. Hay que respetar en la letra y en el espiritu la s libertades publicas. Hay que poner en movimiento la politica; pero no esa chabacana politica de toma y daca que se ha practicado ultimamente, sino una politica seria, honda, preocupada 37 Ibid., 71.
108 que indague en las causas de la crisis y busque el modo honrado de po nerle remedio. 38 for tat reactionary nature Quevedo offered a more effective way of imposition of an honorable solution. The e ditorial was both an indictment political system that had dominated Cuba for years. In agitating for a skeptical and disillusioned Cuban people, Quevedo once again placed Bohemia at the vanguard of the resistance against Batista. founder, Quevedo Perez, and his determination to emulate the best of the publications he had worked for and learned from, both El Figaro and the fi ercely independent Letras No less critical to ability to maintain its independent line was the fact that it was so economically successful. This financial success was predicated on several factors: the publication; closest competitors. Most other Cuban publications, with the possible exception of Sergio Prensa Libre had at some point not only benefited, but relied on government sine cures to remain afloat. Because many lagged in advertising and subscription sales they could not pay their journalists well; an issue that government ministries and public offices were keen on exploiting. Cuban revolutionary journalist Carlos Franqui recal led those heady days of the pre 38 Ibid., 71.
109 39 Only two weeks later, the March 17, 1957 edition covered an attack on the Presidential Student Directorate Jose A ntonio Echevarria ended in a bloodbath for the attackers, killing Echevarria and effectively terminating the leading role the student directorate had played in its opposition to the regime. In what seemed like a turning point in the conflict, Bohemia painf ully insurrection might present a legitimate path out of the nati onal crisis. Conscious of the historic nature of insurrection: Durante cinco aos BOHEMIA ha venido propugnando formulas que permitieran un entendimiento nacional. Lo hemos repe tido incansablemente: precise arribar a una solucion politica que prevena el desgarramiento de una guerra civil. Desdichadamente esa 40 = Bohemi a also found more subversive ways to oppose the regime. Beginning with the best hope to dislodge the regime, Quevedo decided to show support by shrouding every twenty sixth page of the magazine in red and black, the colors of the rebel movement. made sure that every page twenty six included the colors red and bl ack, usually coloring graphic illustrations of a short story. Through these acts, Bohemia skirted the censors and voiced its 39 Carlos Franqui, Cub a, la Revolucion: Mito o realidad?; memorias de un fantasma socialista (Barcelona: Ediciones Peninsula, 2006), 265. 40 Bohemia March 17, 1957, 69.
110 support for the movement led by Fidel Castro. After a brief seven week period of press freedom in early 1958, Batista re i mposed censorship in March of 1958, a measure that was still effective when he fled Cuba in the early morning hours of January 1, 1959. Most Cubans rejoiced at the rebel victory and Bohemia moth edition dedicated to the very notion of liberty. The future for the freedom of the press looked bright.
11 1 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION Bohemia in 1908 barely resembled the format that Cubans grew accustomed to dur What began as a space to display national literary and artistic talent, Bohemia grew into a press organ that demonstrations of civic a ctivism and nation building called on Cubans to become participants, and not just spectators, in the construction of a sovereign and independent nation. While competing visions of nationhood undoubtedly framed the tensions and machinations for power in the early Republic, Bohemia strove to present a diverse array of voices that despite that diversity, all clamored for a Cuba that was for Cubans. In the process, Bohemia itself became a protagonist in the seminal events and issues that characterized republica independent stance not only distinguished it from other publications that accepted money from governments, it established a tradition of independence that would grow its prestige and position the magazine as the leading voice o was emblematic of the evolution of journalism sometimes a driver of that evolution, sometimes a supporter, but always a significant player in shaping a journalistic discourse that resonated with Cubans hopes and frustrations in the nation building project. early mission of restoring the nationalist visions of the great nineteenth century journalists, became an attempt to shape the republican nation per ideals that included a sovereign an d fair Cuba. Under the younger Quevedo's stewardship Bohemia underwent a democrat ization of its contents and early appeal to the upper classes was slowly replaced by coverage of the political, economic and social vicissitudes that the country end ured in the turbulent 1920s and 1930s that appealed to a wider multiclass audience. As the magazine confronted the Machado
112 dictatorship Quevedo's ideological evolution was mirrored in Bohemia's editorial line and the magazine became known for its embrace o f liberal democratic and nationalist principles. These philosophical convictions set Bohemia on a collision course with Batista's regime in the 1950s, a decade that saw the magazine at the vanguard of the opposition in the press to the dictatorship. Contr ary to some scholarly belief, Bohemia's editorial and news coverage did not solely embrace an armed solution to the conflict of the 1950s as led by Fidel Castro, but instead featured coverage that opposed dictatorship through civic action, unarmed confront ation, and propounded myriad political solutions to the crisis by Cuba's most renowned intellectuals and politicians. As the impasse entered the stage of civil war in late 1956, Bohemia's line shifted to an open embrace of the rebels. Bohemia as led by Qu evedo, sought ways to counter Batista's censorship and take advantage of periods when constitutional guarantees had been restored to print information that had been forbidden under Batista's censors. Its own commentary on censorship placed Bohemia at the c enter of the confrontation between the press and the government, and played an important role in shaping public discourse. coverage. Articles that aimed to cast Batista in a more favorable light, as well as Bohemia and Bohemia and the eventual victor in the Cuban civil war, Fidel Castro, should also be further explored to gain insight into how the rebel leader used and manipulated the press, particularly Bohemia in constructing his own image and presenting his politica l, economic and social programs for the country. Many Cubans have argued that Bohemia was indispensable to the rebel victory and that without it, Castro and his forces may not have triumphed. This analysis is certainly deserving of
113 further investigation. B nation and in contributing to the construction of Cuban national identity is undeniable. Cuban ban history as they would be to malign or dismiss Quevedo without crit ically examining his impact on twentieth century Cuban journalism. Since first edition in 1908, its editors envisioned themselves as more than just a magazine or a historical chronicle of the Cuban Republic in all its glory and/or infamy. In time, it evolved from a magazine bent primarily toward providing literary and artistic content with an anny and for liberty and social justice. Throughout, it never recoiled from insisting that it was a publication with a much greater purpose than selling copies, although it was also certainly that. Whether it was under the direction of its brainchild and f ounder Miguel ngel Quevedo Perez or his son and namesake Miguel Angel Quevedo de la Lastra, Bohemia challenged itself to fulfill the ational heroes such as Jose Marti, Antonio Maceo, and Maximo Gomez reflected vision for itself as the journalistic representation of the men and women that had sacrificed for la patria or the fatherland. Whether it was through its support for na tionalistic Cubans from corporate greed or dictatorship, Bohemia sought to present itself as a journalistic institution at the service of la patria While he h nevertheless able to use his editorial line to opine on the political, social and economic
114 convulsions that gripped Cuba beginning in the early 1930s. The Cuban press during this time as it often did during social conflict, played an important role in defeating the Machado regime. By conveying information and opinions it also created the context within which opinions were formed. 1 It saw itself as faithful to its principles and its r eaders, who remained faithful to Bohemia increasing its circulation and readership to ever larger numbers, from its debut of 4,000 magazine hit that record itself. 2 qualification that he was more impresario and less a writer. He is also a victim of the intense political polarization between Cubans and Cuban exiles. Vilified by some e Frankenstein because of the immense support Bohemia extended for the rebel leader and her studies on Bohemia should his commitment to the fundamental principles he continuously claimed guided his stewardship of the magazine for over thirty years. men who declined calls to run for political office because he saw himself as having more power than the president, his role in Cuban history is emblematic of the power journalists wielded in 1 Michael Leslie, Mass Media in Revolutionary Societies: A Case Stu dy of El Universal of Mexico during the Oil Expropriation Crisis of 1938 (University of Washington, 1983), vi. 2 The circulation is even more impressive when comparing the respective populations of Cuba and the US. In 1958, .7 million,000 and the US population stood roughly at 175 million.
115 owners and editors of the hundreds of republican publications that chronicled life on the island merit a much needed investigation.
116 CHAPTER 6 EPILOGUE Editing the Past in Order to Form a More Perfect Union : La Edicin de la Libertad (January 1959) Bohemia Revolution presented a bearded, mystical, and romantic Christ like figure, with his eyes to the sky, ready to take Cuba, as Bohemia 1 The messi dialectic between word and image that helped t o solidify the R evolution and began the process of editing a past that could best support the hard fought rebel victory; a repu tation that Fidel Castro 2 It was the first time he was called a hero in any Cuban print media, but the consensus building to galvanize support around his revolutionary cause by the maga represented the apotheosis of insurrection against Fulgencio Batis ta. Quevedo decided to print an unprecedented one million copies to meet the expected demand. Cubans knew to expect extensive coverage of the journalistic acco record 210 page edition, packed with all of the domestic political news the magazine had been forbidden to print t for the last ten months seemed an auspicious beginning for press freedom under the Revolution. 1 Damian J. Fernandez, Cuba and the Politics of Passion (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000), 71. 2
117 C like and is at once self assuredly calm and humble. It almost appears as if he is seeing something that no one else can, perhaps at another era in time; a nod maybe to those like independence heroes Marti an d Antonio Maceo, who were struck down before they could achieve victory. Or perhaps he is glancing at the future; a nobler vision for the Cuban Republic. His calmness, however, belies the strained vehemence of the gun toting soldier just off to his side, w ith his violent and intense grimace shrouded in darker hues; his Munch esque scream adding a touch of expressionism to an otherwise realistic portrait tragic. Bathed in light and darkness, the soldier is the quintessential Cuban; an inherently contradictory figure representing both the promise and hopelessness of the Cuban nation. Awash in an incandescent light that escapes the soldier, Castro appears as the onl y figure capable of uniting Cuba so that it may reap its promise of redemption and achieve true independence. He is the Messiah. Damian J. 1959 to create a single perception of Fide 3 Castro was seen by m any Cubans as the providential Christ figure that had been sent by a higher power to deliver the Cuban people from evil. Visual images such as cover were instrumental in enshrining that perception. It is not by accident t of the magazine. In fact, the dead constitute a common theme throughout the f irst edition. Echeverria, the charismatic student leader who led an attack on the Presidential Palace in hopes of assassinating Batista and inspiring the Cuban people to revolt against the regime is 3 Fernandez, Cuba and the Politics of Passion 72.
118 pictured slumped over o n his side, his suit jacket open enough to reveal a bloody button down shirt. 4 people and sets the morbid tone for the rest of the edition. La primera palabra de Bohemia solo puede ser para los mrtires una solemne deuda con los muertos, y debemos empezar a saldarla con un saludo nacido de nuestro corazn que siente y de la conciencia que piensa. Nuestro tribut e a los cados meramente comienza ahora. 5 The juxtaposition of word and image in this feature, punctuated by the Bohemia logo and the nonetheless conspires to present a sensationalistic style that became crucial to efforts in editing a past its editors also had to reconcile with for themselves Even though the words of were instrumental in radicalizing readers and enshrining the Revolution as a the culmination of all of their struggles Bohemia also claimed a stake in the actio 6 The gallery of cadavers that Bohemia could not publish under censorship but whose journalists nevertheless sought out to cover at their own personal risk. Quevedo and many Cuban journalists felt justified in editing the 4 Julio Fernndez Leon, Jose An tonio Echeverria: Vigencia y Presencia: Ante el cincuenta aniversario de su hoocausto (Miami: Ediciones Universal, 2007), 466. 5 Bohemia January 11, 1959, 3. 6 Guerra, Visions of Power 42 43.
119 recent past in order to unite the country around a victory they perceived as not only Fidel ut as their own. Quevedo had, by this point however, inextricably tied himself, and Bohemia, to Castro and the Revolution. The edition featured photograph after photograph of Quevedo, in his trademark sunglasses, posing with the bedraggled but joyous rebe ls whose first order of business it seemed was to In one he stood with Conrado Bequer, a rebel th of July movement. Bearded and draped in olive fatigues, the smiling Bequer looks almost dapper next to th e shorter, taciturn and bespectacled Quevedo. In another, members of the student directorate that Echeverria had once led, who also served in the rebel mobster in his sunglasses and with his arms crossed), in what appears to be his office. These llows the contemporary reader to read the subtext and see the tragedy that seems to lurk in the photographs. For such an accomplished and powerful man, Quevedo appears almost lost, detached; overwhelmed by the multitude of forces that seem to have found th eir voice and place at last in a new Cuba. Quevedo could not know that in eighteen months he would be seeking asylum in the Venezuelan embassy after his hopes for a liberal democratic revolution were all but shattered, but a close reading of the images and the man in them, reveals a sense of uncertainty that belies the other wise celebratory mood of the rebels. The last thirty pages or so of the edition are dedicated to displaying a visual and textual chronology of the victims who fell in the last seven yea rs of the regime a chronology, quite simply, of the dead. Several hundred names were listed, accompanied by the gory photographs of
120 thirty five male cadavers and one tortured female survivor. The headline on the first page reads Venite Mil Muertos Arroja el Tragico Balance del Regimen de the bul lets seems to have punctured his throat and a long stream of blood drips down from his neck down past his chest. Visible on his right hand is a wedding ring. The ground he is lying on is drenched with blood, probably emanating from a wound on the back of h is head. Underneath 7 The list of names and a coup. This macabre chronology of the dead, as exceptionally horrible as it seems, is not what has had a lasting impact. It is the 20,000 body count that continues to draw controversy. While some scholars have debunked the figure as a myth created by Queved o and his co editor Enrique de la Osa, and an apocryphal suicide letter by Que vedo in 1969 purports to having made the figure up, Cuban scholar Maria del Pilar Daz Castann is nonetheless adamant: Bohemia no ha inventado nada: se ha limitado a compilar la s informaciones que da a da fueron publicados en o comunicados a, que no es lo mismo la prensa por las autoridades Bohemia l violento regimen de Batista. 8 Daz were printed. Moreover, the dead were the victims of the terror emanating from both the Batista regime and the revolutionaries. 7 Bohemia January 11, 1959, 180. 8 Diaz Castaon, Prensa y Revolucin: La magia del cambio 299.
121 T he little known truth of the 20,000 dead has a somewhat less spectacular origin. As Max Lesnik recounted to me in an August 2015 intterview: in the late 1950s former president Ramon Grau gave an interview for the New York Times where he was asked about Ba its repressive tactics. In typical Grau fashion, which resembled the hyperbolic criollo storytelling unproven claim was later picked up by Enrique de la Osa in order to give the first Liberty edition punch as Bohemia though there was no proof, and only about a thousand names could be verified, Quevedo did not contest de la 9 The veracity of the 20,000 dead notwithstanding the images in chronology of the dead became iconic precisely because they were so persuasive. Lillian Guerra acknowledges the imp ortance of this type of imagery in defining the grand narrative of the Revolution that would prove crucial to its consolidation. Images like those of Broost and Hernandez and the horrors they bespoke, as well as those of the jubilant crowds and victorious rebels played such a 10 s the central factor structuring news work. embodied within the story fr 11 While news coverage of regime atrocities 9 Interview with Max Lesnik by Richard Denis. August 17, 2015, Miami, FL. 10 Guerra, Visions of Power 29 30. 11 Simon Cottle, News, Public Relations and Power (London: Sage Publications, 2003), 15.
122 awakened many Cubans to the brutality of the Batista dictatorship, if sometimes did so using a narrative paradigm bordering on tabloid journalism. In a chapter published in 1988, Elizabeth Bi rd and Robert Dardenne argued that the news is not always objective reporting of fact but in fact a form of storytelling that functions in a mythological way. 12 Castro and the press repeated this number and it became inscribed in official histories promoted by the state. 13 became so embedded in the Cuban psyche that rightwing counterrevolutionaries and dissident 14 Guerra writes: The likely total was probably closer to three to four thousand. Nonetheless, the survival speaks to the power of first editions to shape public perceptions in found ational ways. The figure of the 20,000 dead became a key building block in the emerging grand narrative through which so many Cubans embedded their faith in Fidel. 15 While the sensationalistic tone of the first Liberty edition reflected the euphoric atmos phere that underwrote the first four or so months of 1959, they also represented a break with the encyclopedic news coverage that had served to inform Cubans in the midst of a censorship that ed rebellion in the Sierra Maestra and tits underground counterpoint in the cities. While the friction between the rebel forces was downplayed in the larger quest for resolve and unity, Bohemia had nevertheless given 12 Adventures in Writing May 8, 2010. https://lindadaniele.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/news as narrative myth chronicle and story bird and dardenne/ Retrieved April 24, 2015. 13 Guerra, Visions of Power 43. 14 Ibid., 43. 15 Ibid., 43.
123 voice to the diversity of opinion and t actics that existed withn the opposition to Batista. In the name of forging a unity that could solidify what was seen by Quevedo and other journalists as a victory that liberated the press, Quevedo chose to commit himself and his magazine to the revolution ary project wholeheartedly. The first journalistic task that he saw as indispensable to role as la mas firme baluarte was its editing of the recent past so as to legitimate not es over the last seven years. To that point, the narrative of the 20,000 dead served the purpose of relegating Batista to the dustbin of history alongside the likes of Machado, whose own crimes had been documented in sources such as Crimenes y Horrores de un Rgim en and Bohemia itself. The task of editing the machadista physical suffereing at the h palmacristazo Irrespective of the origin of the notion of the 20,000 dead, the myth creating impact of gument that journalists sometimes operate like storytellers by using conventional structures to shape events into story. 16 The words and images in the first edition of Bohemia after the triumph of t he Revolution are awash in metaphor and symbolism. As editor, Quevedo aimed to fuse a symbolic break with 16 Cottle, News, Public Relations and Power 15.
124 the past by acknowledging its horrors with the need to look forward to a Cuba that could simultaneously embrace democratic ideals, national sovereignt y and social justice. By reckoning Bohemia sought to catalyze Cubans around the virtuous ideas of mutual self sacrifice and civic duty that would be required for, as Fid el Castro said, the arduous tasks that lay ahead in the construction of a new, more just Cuba. Revolucin Pero No Tanta Bohemia That these endeavors would ultimately lead to the silencing of many Cuban voices that contested Fidel Cas new Cuba was a tragic irony. In November 1959 Quevedo was present at a meeting with Che Guevara in which it was announced that after a cabinet hakeup in the revolutionary government, Guevara had been named president of the National Bank of Cuba. 17 when he finally realized that the magazine could no longer be run as the capitalistic e nterprise it had been for more than fifty years. Everyone knew that Che was a Communist and Bohemia depended on advertising sales to survive. Quevedo knew that selling advertising space would become more challenging given the economic structure the country seemed to be embracing under the increased sway of members of the PSP. Still, as Lillian Guerra notes, revolutionaries bristled at the suggestion that the Revolution itself was turning Communist and beginning in December 1959 a spate of unprecedented attc ks on national newspapers swept the island. 18 The 17 Cristina Saralegui, Cristina: My Life aa a Blonde, (New York: Warner Books, 1998), 36. 18 Guerra, Visions of Power 107.
125 services in which U.S officials characterized the Revolution as Communist. 19 That same month Quevedo authorized a secret fact finding mission to the eastern stretches of the island by young bright journalist Carlos Castaeda and his equally well known photographer, Eduardo Hernandez, who was simply known as Guayo. The ostensible reason for the tour of the is land was to glean an impression of how the Agrarian Lillian, who accompanied the men on one of the missions, remembers the secrecy that shrouded these operations. 20 Th and pubic offices were being filled with members of the PSP. One literacy school Castaeda visited in Oriente province was using Marxist doctrine to teach students how to read. Casta recounts how her group wondered if Castro was aware of this infiltration by a group that had not directly participated in the revolutionary struggle. Carlos Castaeda had even interviewed Castro on the political television show Ante l a Prensa only ont hs earlier and the leader had famously quipped that the Revolution was not red but green like the palms of Cuba. Was he aware that the group asking Quevedo. 21 Other developments soon began to make the matter clearer for Quevedo. By February 1960, editor realized that the airing of dirty laundry, a hallmark of political coverage since the 1930s, would not be tolerated by Castro. This conundrum undoubtedly forced 19 Interview with Leonardo Cuesta by Richard Denis in Havana, Cuba on July 9, 2015. 20 Interview with Lillian Castaeda by Richard Denis in Miami, FL. On June 9, 2015. 21 Ibid.
126 Quevedo to make the ultimate sacrifice and abandon the magazine that his father had started two months before he was born and had lasted for more than fifty years. Although role in helping to further legitimate and solidify th e Revolution throughout 1959 and into 1960 while Quevedo still controlled the magazine lie outside the scope of this work, it is almost necessary to end this work by delving deep into the mind of the man that had contributed so much to the evolution of jou By July of 1960 Quevedo suddenly found himself, and his patria without the critical voice that had provided a sense of comfort to Cubans who looked to the press, and particularly Bohemia as that fourth power that validated their hopes and frustrations and legitimated their alternative visions of nation in opposition to the hegemonic visions propagandized by the state under the revolutionary leadership. While he had methodically planned to seek asylum in the Ve nezuelan embassy for months, when Quevedo suddenly found himself trapped in a space without a voice for the first time in his life, he decided to vent his hopes and frustrations to the one of young bright journalists, Carlos Castaeda, whose grou ndbreaking interviews with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara had caused consternation with some Cubans who had begun to question the shifting nature of the Revolution. Already in the forefront of Quevedo and Bohemia i n the United States as Bohemia Libre Already in New York with a group of other exiled Bohemia journalists, the young Castaeda was toward communism and the Soviet Union. Quevedo implores Castaeda and his group to wait until he has s afely left the island. Mi querido Castaeda: Hoy sabado da 6, acabo de recibir tus memorandums y la carta de Jorge (Saralegui). Todo ello con fecha 31 de julio (dia de mi cumpleaos). Las mismas me han llenado de satisfaccin y gran alegra; no se pueden ustedes imaginar, que momentos mas tristes he pasado, siendo dia de la soledad, de mi
127 asilo, tantas traiciones y tanta miseria. A las dos horas de haberme asilado o sea el lunes 18 a la s 10 de la manana, ya me habian despojado de todo lo mio. Le encautaron y saquearon la finca y Varadero, el yate lo tienen dando viajes de alquiler y de mi casa del Vedado se llevaron hasta los clavos. Como si yo fuera un criminal de guerra o un ladron cua lquiera. Pero no me importa tenemos que seguir adelante y demostrarle a tanto hijo de mala madre, ahora ms que nunca de todo lo que somos capazes de hacer. Desde la fecha de las cartas hasta hoy sbado, han ocurrido muchas cosas. El exilio de Raul Chibs, los discursos terribles de Raul Castro y la ley de violentaron de los impuestos, que acaba ya por liquidar a las personas o empresas que todava tuvieron un poco de bienestar econmico. Esta noche esta anunciando un discurso de Fidel como resumen al congr eso de juventud que dicen va a ser sensacional. Veremos a ver que nueva salvajada se le ocurre a estos demagogos rusos. El memorndum con tus ideas sobre la edicin de Bohemia Libre me pareci estupendo. Tenemos ademas otras personas a quienes podemos util izar, como Ortega, Vierita, etc. De todas maneras, me parece que nada se debe hacer hasta que yo este en libertad porque no seria lo mismo con el orden del impacto continental sacar Bohemia conmigo asilado y ademas que ello poda provocar que estos descara dos demora ran entonces aun mas mi salida. Tengo noticias de que ya el miserable Delahoza, esta en dificultades, que han querido ponerle un interventor y que tuvo que dar una gran batalla para evitarlo. En definitiva se lo pondrn y lo vejaran en todas las formas imaginables. Con los traidores despus que se utilizan nadie tiene compasin. Procuresen moverse lo mas posible para lograr el salvoconducto de Rose y mo. Yo desde ayer nada puedo hacer. El Embajador su Excelencia Nucete Sardi es una magnifica pers ona a quien le estoy profundamente agradecido, pero lleva al asilo con toda la rigidez mxima y no vemos a nadie. Ya llevamos 20 das en esta situacin. Estoy profundamente esperanzado de que esto va a cambiar muy pronto y tambin muy entusiasmado con la idea de Bohemia Libre, a quienes estos miserables le tienen un terror pnico Nos vamos a dar gusto haciendo una gran revista y amargandoles todas la s horas del Tengo informes tambin que Bohemia a bajado mas de doscientos mil ejemplare s y que tienen el propsito de sacarla dos veces al mes. Asi como a Vanidades una vez al mes. Y a Carteles dejado de publicar. Resumiendo: De acuerdo totalmente con tu memorndum sobre Bohemia Libre. Fecha de salida, a, acordar cuando yo llegue a esa. Segu imos trabajando en la preparacin de todo para poder arrancar lo mas rpido despus de mi llegada. Procurar gestiones salvoconducto, ver a Mathews lo pide etc.
128 Recuerdo a todos, un abrazo bien fuerte. Miguelito P.D. Que te parece lo mal que se a portado Ro a c onmigo? Que le vamos a hacer Otro P.D. Este viernes casi ni se pregono Bohemia, y parece ademas que el senor Fidel Castro no esta nada conforme con las ediciones salidas bajo la "direccin" del Delahoza ( ahora se llama de la Osa ) Que tipo de rufin mas miserable este de la Osa Ensearle esta carta a Jorge (Saralegui) al que supongo regreso de Espana despus de haber vistado al viejo(Saralegui). Hay que buscar una relacin de los agentes de Bohemia en el extranjero para pedirl e que no reciban la Bohemia apcrifa y que nos payen a nosotros. De lo contrario buscar formulas legales para establecer pleitos en cada pas a los agentes de Bohemia cobrandoles los ejemplares recibidos despus de la encantacin de la mismas. Perdona el p apel, la syntax y todo pues tengo el cerebro fuera de foco y aqu no tengo papel ni sobre. M Otra P.D. Ustedes sabian que FIdel tuvo que hablar el mismo lunes que me asile, porque la conmocin en Cuba resulto de pelcula. El muy degenerado no pudo decirme nada malo, solamente se paso hora y media diciendo mentiras y tratando de explicar lo inexpli cable reconociendo el comienzo de esa comparecencia, que lo mo haba sido el golpe mas duro que haba recibido la revolucin. Otro de los traidores que nunca crei posible resulto ser Luis Suarez, a quien lo nico que hice fue salvarle la vida, cuando se e nfermo de los pulmones y que como un hijo mantiene ano y medio en el sanatorio con todo lo que necesito y con los mejores mdicos. Ese si me ha dolido. De Raul Chibs estan diciendo los peores horrores, pero esta gente ya no destruyo a nadie al contrario. M 22 time colleagues and by the Revolution that Bohemia had done so much to support reveals a deep resentment and a new mission: that of continuing historic legacy in defense of democracy by launching a ve rsion unhindered by the absolutist attitudes that he had perceived in the last six months of his time in Cuba, this time 22 Letter from Miguel Angel Quevedo to Carlos Castaeda donated by Lillian Castaeda
129 from the very city in which Jos Marti spent a good deal of his time in the United States, New York. Even during the Cold War, Quevedo had no way of knowing that another set of powerful interests would be waiting with Castaeda and his other colleagues to begin planning Bohemia Libre and appropriate legacy. American imperialism may have been expelled from Cuba, but U.S. official s interest in appropriating the vestiges of the journalism of the Cuban republican period for their own interests was alive and well. As the summer of 1960 wound down and the last independent newspaper, Informacin closed its doors, the Cuban press entere d a new era where the vaunted fourth power had now been subsumed and made into an extension of the state itself. Bohemia silenced.
130 BIBLIOGRA PHY Newspapers Alisky, Marvin. Nieman Reports Vol. X No. 2. April 1956 : 16 18. Bohemia May 10, 1953. Pan American Union B ulletin vol. 47, July Dec., 1918 Pp. 395 400. Bohemia, March 26, 1912. Bohemia March 17, 1957. Diario de la Marina March 11, 1952. Bohemia June 13, 1954 Bohemia January 2, 1927. Bohemia August 26, 1951, 77. Bohemia Carteles May 18, 1958. Bohemia August, 26, 1951. Bohemia March 20, 1927. Letras December 15 30, 1906. Bohemia January 11, 1959. Bohemia January 11, 1959. Bohemia February 28, 1954 Bohemia March 3 1957. Bohemia May 10, 1953
131 o Bohemia August 19, 1951 Bohemia August 29, 1954. Carteles January 10, 1954. Bohemia May 10, 1953. Rodrguez, Pedro Pablo. "Biografa de Bohemia Bohemia. Nmero 18, May 5, 1978. feminista. Bohemia Apr il 13, 1930 Bohemia October 12, 1930. Bohemia, August 29, 1954. Primary Material Pan American Bulletin Vol. 47 Nov. Dec. 1918. Cabrera, Raimundo. Desde mi sitio Lib ro de Cuba : Edicin commemorative del cincuentenario de la independencia, 1902 1952 (Havana: n.p., 1954). Letter from Miguel Angel Quevedo to Carlos Castaeda, donated by Lillian Castaeda, Peraza, Carlos G. Machado: Crimenes y Horrores de un Regimen: Con un Prologo de Sergio Carb Havana: Cultural S.S., 1933. Soto Paz, Rafael. Album del Cincuentenario published by the Asociasin de Reporters de la Habana. Havana: Editorial Lex, 1953. So Libro de Cuba: Edicin commemorative del cincuentenario de la independencia, 1902 1952 (Havana: n.p., 1954). US State Department. Foreign Service Dispatch, Data Regarding Most Influential Cuban Periodic als February 1953 Obras Completas: Discursos y Conferencias Segundo Tomo 33 35.
132 Obras Completas: Discursos y Conferencias Segundo Tomo Havana: Molina y Compania, 1942, P. 47 50. Secondary Material Aguilera Manzano, Jos Mara. La formaci n de la identidad cubana (El debate Saco La Sagra ). Havana: Editorial CSIC, 2005. Alexander, Robert Jackson. A History of Organized Labor in Cub a Westport: Greenwood Publishing: 2002. Alonso, Manuel F. Cuba Before the World: A Comprehensive and Descriptive Account of the Republic of Cuba f rom the Earliest Times to the Present Day Havana: The Souvenir Guide of Cuba Co., 1915. ngulo Prez, Andr s. La prensa en Cuba: Proceso hist rico Baquero, Gaston. Ensayos selectos Madrid: Verbum, 2015. Bejel, Emilio. Gay Cuban Nation Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001. Bueno, Salvador. Costumbristas Cubanos del Siglo XIX Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1983. Buffington, Robert M. A Sentimental Education for the Working Man: The Mexico City Penny Press, 1900 1910 Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2015. Cairo, Ana. Eduardo Chibas: imaginarios: Selecc ion de Ana Cairo Santiago de Cuba: Editorial de Oriente, 2010. Calvo Gonzalez, Patricia Visiones desde dentro. La insurreccin cubana a travs del Diario de la Marina y Bohemia (1958 1958). Santiago de Compostela: Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, 2014. Carpentier, Alejo. Crnicas: arte, literatura, politca: Volume 8 Havana: Siglo Veintinuo Editores, 1985. Revista de la Universidad de Oriente no 67. December 1987. Chao, Raul Eduardo. Three Days in March Washington DC: Dupont Circle Editions, 2013. De la Cova, Antonio. The Moncada Attack: Birth of the Cuban Revolution Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2007.
133 ry: Exploring the Narrative Qualities of News: Bird https://lindadaniele.wordpre ss.com/2010/09/08/news as narrative myth chronicle and story bird and dardenne/ Retrieved July 13, 2016. Cottle, Simon. News, Public Relations, and Power London: SAGE Publications Ltd, 2003. Darling, Juanita. Latin America Media, and Revolution: Communication in Modern Mesoamerica New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2008. De la Fuente, Alejandro. A Nation for All: Race, Inequality, and Politics in Twentieth Century Cuba. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2001. Diaz Castaon, Maria del Pilar. Prensa y Revolucin: La magia del cambio. Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 2010. Ehrlich, Ilan. Eduardo Chibas: The Incorrigible Man of Cuban Politics London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015 Estrada, Alfredo Jose. Havana: Autobiography of a City London: Palgrave & MacMillan, 2007 Fernandez, Damian J Cuba and the Politics of Passion Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000. Fernndez Caldern, Alejandro Leonardo. P ginas en conflicto: debate racial en la prensa cubana (1912 1930 ). Havana: Editorial UH, 2014. Fernandez Cuenca, Waldo. La imposici n del silencio: Como se clausuro la libertad de prensa en Cuba 1959 1960 Madrid: Hypermedia Ediciones, 2016. Fernandez Leon, Julio. Jose Antonio Echeverria: Vigencia y Presencia: Ante el cincuenta aniversario de su holocausto. Miami: Ediciones Universal, 2007. Ferrer Ada. Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868 1898 Chapel Hill & London: The Univer sity of North Carolina Press, 1999. Fornet, Ambrosio. El Libro en Cuba: Siglos XVIII y XIX Havana: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 2014. Fox, Elizabeth. Media and Politics in Latin America: The Struggle for Democracy London: Sage Publications, 1988. Franqu i, Carlos. Cuba, la Revoluci n: Mito o realidad: memorias de un fantasma socialista Barcelona: Ediciones Peninsula, 2006. Guerra, Lillian. The Myth of Marti: Conflicting Nationalisms in Early Twentieth Century Cuba Chapel Hill and London, 2005.
134 Guerr a, Lillian. Visions of Power: Revolution, Redemption, and Resistance in Cuba, 1959 1971. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2012. Gutierrez Bourricaudy, Jorge Eduardo. Los caminos del Moncada Havana: Editora Historia, 2013. Helg, Aline. Our Rightful Share: The Afro Cuban Struggle for Equality, 1886 1912 Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press 1995. Igles ias Utset, Marial. A Cultural History of Cuba During the US Occupation, 1898 1902 Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011. Jackson Alexander, Robert. A History of Organized Labor in Cuba Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002. Jensen, Larry R Children of Colonial Despotism: Press, Politics, and Culture in Cuba, 1790 1840 Tampa: University of South Florida Press, 1988. Johnson Sherry. The Social Transformation of Eighteenth Century Cuba Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2001. la campana feminist de Bohemia (1930 Juncker, Kristine. Afro Cuban Religious Arts: Popular Expressions of Cultural Inheritance in Espiritismo and Santeria Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2014. Lent, John A. Bibliography of Cuban Mass Communicatio ns Westport, Connecticut, and London: Greenwood Press, 1992. Leslie, Michael. Mass Media in Revolutionary Societies: A Case Study of El Universal of Mexico during the Oil Expropriation Crisis of 1938 University of Washington, 1983. MacGregor, Josefina. Antologas: Del porfiriato y la Revolucin Mxico, D.F.: El Colegio de Mxico 2015. Marrero, Juan. Dos Siglos de Periodismo en Cuba: Momentos hechos y rostros Havana: Pablo de la Torriente Editorial, 1999. in Jorge Ma ach (1898 1961): Homenaje de la Naci n Cubana Rio Piedras: Editorial San Juan, 1971. Martinez Zufferi, Wendy. Palos para el asno: discurso periodistico para la oposici n de antimachadista en los editorials de la revista Carteles (noviembre 19 24 abril 1930) Havana: University of Havana, 2012.
135 Matthews, Herbert L. The Cuban Story New York: George Braziller 1961. To The Americas 20, no. (1964): 376 392. McGovern, Eileen Maria. From Varela to Mart : Four nineteenth century Cuban migr newspapers Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1990. Moreno Fraginals, Manuel. Cuba/Espaa, Espaa/Cuba: Historia comn Madrid: Grijalbo Mondadori, 1995. Nuez Machin, Ana. Mujeres en el periodimo cubano Santia go de Cuba: Editorial Oriente, 1989. Ortiz, Fernando. Cuban Counterpoint: Sugar and Tobacco New York: Alfred Knopf: 1947. Repercusin de la primera guerra mundial en Cuba: Una Mirada desde la prensa. Revista Goliardos Ao 21 nmero XVIII, 2014: 32 41. Pappademos, Melina. Black Activism and the Cuban Republic Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2011. Pardias Barnes, Patricia. Jorge Ma ach: Prensa, periodismo y comunicacin Encue ntro de la Cultura Cubana 21 22 (summer/fall 2001): 243 246. P r The Media in Latin America edited by Jairo Lugo, 116 130. New York: Open University Press, 2006. P rez, Louis A. Cuba B etween Empires, 1878 1902. Pit tsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1983. P rez, Louis A. Cuba: Between Reform and Revolution New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Prez, Louis A. Cuba Under the Platt Amendment 1902 1934. Pittsburgh: The University of Pittsburgh, 1986. P rez, Louis A. On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality and Culture. Chapel Hill: The Uni versity of North Carolina Press, 1999 Prez, Louis A. To Die in Cuba: Suicide and Society Chapel Hill and London: The Un iver sity of North Carolina Press, 2005. Prez Sanchez, Yusleidy. Jorge Ma ach, el ABC, y el proceso revolucionario del 30 (1920 1935). Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 2013.
136 P rez Stable, Marifeli. The Cuban Revolution: Origins, Course, and Legacy New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Portell Vil, Herminio. Miami: Editorial Cubana, 2001. Prada, Pedro. La secretaria de la Repubica Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 2001 Quintana Suarez, Raul. Fidel Castro y la prensa escrita: Legado y contemporaneidad Havana: Universidad de Ciencias Pedagogicas, 2009. La segunda generacin repblicana y sus figuras Revista Iberoamericana LVI, n mero 152 153 (July December 1990), 1291 1311. Rexach, Rosario. Los ensayistas de Avance: Francisco Ichaso Toronto: University of Toronto, 1977. The Selling of Fidel Castro: The Media and the Cuban Revo lution edited by William E. Ratliff, 83 108. Rivero, Yeidy. Broadcasting Modernity: Cuban Commercial Television 1950 1960 Durham and London: Greenwood Press, 2015. Escritores Olvidados de la Rep ublica Havana: Ediciones Union, 2012. Roser, Max and Ortiz www.OurWorldinData.org/data/education knowledge/literacy Accessed May 1, 2016. Salwen, Michael B. Latin American Journalism Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 1991. Communication in Latin America: Journalism, Mass Media and Society edited by Richard R. Cole, 139 154, Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1996. Saralegui, Cristina. Cristina: My Life as a Blonde New York: Warner Books, 1998. Sarmiento Lima, Edel. La prensa cubana y el machadato (1930 1933 : Un acerc amiento a la relaci n prensa poder. Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 2014. Sartorius, David. Ever Faithful: Race, Loyalty, and the Ends of Empire in Spanish Cuba Durham and London: Dike University Press, 2013. Scott, Rebecca J. Slave Emancipation in Cuba: The Transition to Free Labor, 1860 1899 Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1985.
137 Smorkaloff, Pamela Marie. Readers and Writers in Cuba: A Social History of Print Culture, 1830s 1990s New York: Garland, 1997. Spencer, David R. The Ye Power Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2007. Stoner, K. Lynn. Reform, 1898 1940 Thomas, Hugh. Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom New York: Harper & Row, 1971. Cuba in Transition conference, Miami, Florida, 2006. Villaescusa, Ivette. Desaf os en la prensa cubana Havana: Edi tora Historia, 2015. Whitney, Robert. State and Revolution: Mass Mobilization and Political Change, 1920 1940 Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 2001.
138 Richard Denis was born in New Jersey to Cuban exiles. Raised in Miami, Florida, Denis graduated Summa Cum Laude with his Bachelor of Arts at Florida International University in 2013, where he majored in nternational elations and minored in olitical cience. In 2012 he won the Jose Antonio Echverria Scholarship for his essay on the Cuban student leader and independence fighter. His life long love of history motivated him to research his own roots and studying Cuban history became his passion. In 2014 he began a Master of Arts at the University of Flori da in the Latin American Studies program with a focus on Cuba. He presented several papers at various academic Instit uto de Historia de Cuba In October 2015, he became one of the first Cuban $PHULFDQV\003WR\003SUHVHQW\003KLV\003ZRUN\003DW\003D\003FRQIHUHQFH\003RQ\003WKH\003&XED\Q\003HYROXWLRQ\003LQ\003+DYDQD\266V\003 Palacio de las Convenciones. 'HQLV\266 olution, focuses on the Bohemia magazine, which once had the largest circulation in all Latin America. Denis hopes to expand his thesis into a doctoral dissertation that takes a broader view of Cuba's press and its impact in Latin America and the Caribbean.