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Censorship in Cuba and Trends for Change

The Republic of Cuba is an island in the Caribbean, located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean (CIA, 2009). Among many facts about Cuba, such as the militaristic regime, communism, Fidel Castro, cigars, etc, with which Cuba can be associated, there are a prominent historical issue that puts the country in a negative leading position in the world. Such issue is censorship. In that regard, this paper analyzes the issue of censorship in Cuba, specifically addressing the era of electronic expression and the recent trends for change.

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Taking the analysis from the Cuban Revolution and upward, it can be stated that many forms of censorship existed in Cuba prior to 1959 (Moore, 2006). However, after the revolution the form censorship taken a wider approach, a fact that government representatives in Cuba do not deny, stating that “mass media in every country have administrators who decide what should and should not be included in programming” (Moore, 2006). A particular context in the conflict between Cuba and the United States can be said to have an influence on the policy of censorship, where US initiatives to sabotage Castro’s regime resulted in the preoccupation with anything that threatens the moral and ideological force in Cuba. In the process of protecting national culture, the Cuban government excessively regulated the press, the publishing industry, and all other media as well access to national and international opinion. In that regard, the period most associated with crass censorship was the “five-year gray stretch”, from 1968 to 1973 (Moore, 2006).

As an effect of censorship, largely affecting artists during the period from 1988-1989, was the rise of self-censorship (Camnitzer, 2003). The communication with higher ranks in power, as well as bureaucracy resulted in such reaction. Self-censorship was operated on two levels: “One is in regard to the tenor of the actual creative work being produced; the other is what is said in meetings” (Camnitzer, 2003).

The first introduction to the internet was documented in 1996, and among the facts hindering faster connectivity development was the legislation forbidding US investment in Cuban telecommunication, and Cuban economic policies (Deibert, 2008). The effect of internet censorship can be seen through such facts as that by 2000 there were only 6,000 computers linked to the internet in Cuba, and approximately 80,000 Cubans had email accounts (Deibert, 2008). Despite the improvements in those numbers, the traffic was heavily regulated, and the high cost of usage is still an issue for development.

Assessing the improvements, the near total ban on internet was lifted in 2008, although the content might be still regulated for controversial and opposing material. In terms of literature, Cuba annually hosts “what is arguably the second largest book fair in Latin America after Guadalajara”, as well as supporting the best public library systems in the developing world (McDonald, 2008), an initiative the result of which can be seen in Cuba standing the third in literacy rate in the world according to UNESCO.

It can be concluded that the state of censorship in Cuba is still an issue although the times of the heaviest regulation were certainly in the past. Accordingly, the degree of the internet development can be seen related to the slow development at the period of the technology introduction in Cuba, and it can be assumed that the lift of the total ban is an indication of a step forward into reducing the content regulation as well.


Camnitzer, L. (2003). New art of Cuba (Rev. ed.). Austin: University of Texas Press.

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CIA (2009). Cuba. The World Factbook Web.

Deibert, R. (2008). Access denied : the practice and policy of global Internet filtering. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

McDonald, P. (2008). ALA’s Stand on Cuba’s Independent Libraries. Web.

Moore, R. (2006). Music and revolution : cultural change in socialist Cuba. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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"Censorship in Cuba and Trends for Change." StudyCorgi, 12 Nov. 2021,

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Censorship in Cuba and Trends for Change'. 12 November.

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