Wednesday, June 24, 2009

1957: Matthews Castro interview printed in Cuban press

Cuba History Timeline Events
March 3, 1957
Cuban news publications published Castro interview by Matthews, along with Castro's proposed political program for Cuba: Proclama de Santiago de Cuba.

Bohemia and a few national dailies without any interference from the regime published Mathews’ Castro interview. The weekly magazine quoted Castro as saying he “had no animosity against the United States. We are fighting for a democratic Cuba and the conclusion of the dictatorship.” It went on to quote Castro as adding that due to Batista’s censorship Cubans knew more about Algeria than about him, having never heard one word about him and his fight. Given Bohemia’s huge national readership and its long-standing coverage of Castro, the censorship claim was false on its face. In fact, the issue with this interview carried the publisher's proud banner of "Uncensored" ("Sin Censura").

Bohemia, an influential weekly magazine, had led the charge in publishing anti-Batista rants. Eschewing the efforts of the Electoralists/Constitutionalists to negotiate a peaceful resolution of Cuba's political crisis, Bohemia dedicated its influential pages to undermine those endeavors. Such reporting included Bohemia coverage of the 1953 Moncada Trial which glorified Castro, portraying him as a heroic fighter for democracy and liberty. Castro’s inflammatory and propagandistic writings were published by Bohemia regularly thereafter, including a rant against the SAR efforts (“Frente a Todos“ [Against All]) written during Castro’s self-imposed exile in Mexico.

So special a place was held by Bohemia as a Castro mouthpiece that in July 1959 when Bohemia was seized after its publisher (Miguel Angel Quevedo) fled, it continued to be published as a government publication, rather than shuttered as were all other seized newspapers and magazines.

Bohemia cover 3-Mar-1957Bohemia cover, March 3 1957

based on Manuel Márquez-Sterling's Cuba 1952-1959 and
Cuba 1952-1959 Interactive Timeline

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