CUBA HAS a rich history of print media. The country’s writers and publications are among the best in Latin America.
The first newspapers in Cuba emerged two years after the British takeover of Havana in 1762. The British presence was short but important; it opened Cuba to a non-Spanish-speaking world. The Gazeta (Gazette) was the idea of Spanish Captain General Ambrosio de Funes y Villapando, the Conde de Ricla, and began publication on Mondays, but disappeared after a two-year period during his government. It provided political and commercial news, as well as government dispositions and a list of ships entering and leaving Havana harbor. That same year Gabriel Beltrán de Santa Cruz and Ignacio José de Urrutia y Montoya published El Pensador (The Thinker) with a similar content as the Gazeta.
Cuba’s first newspaper is considered to be The Papel Periódico de la Havana (Havana Newspaper), which came into existence on 24 October 1790 at the insistence of Don Luis de las Casas, governor general of the island. Later it was acquired by the powerful Sociedad Economica de Amigos del País de la Habana (Friends of the Country’s Economic Society). It ceased publication in 1828. The newspaper contained commercial news and offered cultural news of the capital, literature, and literary criticism. It represented the interests of the emerging criollo bourgeoisie.
The first newspapers were published in Havana, but other cities had their own newspapers. For example, in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba Matías