How the Cubans view themselves
in Western Media
For History 299
April 21, 2010
As a young child, I remember living in New York during the latter part of the
Cold War years. In school, we had “bomb drills” in which time we got under our desks
and took cover in case of a bomb or missile hitting the city. The apartment building that I
lived in had a “fallout shelter” downstairs underneath the building to house survivors of
nuclear war and spare them the effects of radioactivity. In my pre college studies, I
didn’t learn much about the politics behind the United State’s foreign relationships with
Cuba and the former Soviet Union and the Cold War itself. The basic premise that was
embedded in the lessons that I did receive was that the countries of Cuba and the former
Soviet Union had anti-American stance. I was taught that these countries disliked the
U.S.’s Capitalist economic system, the U.S.’s anti-Communist stand, and the American
way of life. In the pre-internet 1980s, like most Americans, I got much of my
information from the television and the newspapers because they were the main
source of information for learning about world events. Images of war, conflict or chaos
within a country helped Americans to form public opinion on foreign countries. Fidel
Castro himself was well aware of this fact when he assumed power in Cuba. To get
American support, he appeared on “Meet the Press” during the week of April 1959. The
Cold War heavily influenced entertainment in the Western Hemisphere. In the movies
and television shows, prior to the 1990s, the countries of Cuba and Russia were portrayed
as oppressive, communist countries. All of the institutions were in these countries were
nationalized and there was oppressive control over their respective arts, media, athletes
and citizens. The Cuban or Russians characters in the screen plays were portrayed as
criminal minded opportunists who were aggressive, authoritarian, hostile and wrathful. I
remember watching movies such as Rocky, White Nights, and Scarface as a child and
how made they made durable impressions on me of how negative some of the
portrayals have been of foreigners in Hollywood and American media. Since 1959, the
country of Cuba has been in the media spotlight due to Fidel Castro and his brunt on
Cuba. Without a doubt, Fidel Castro has tainted the course of Cuba and the lives of its
populace forever. It is a known reality that the typical U.S. media has been the
omnipresent element in the manufacturing of American public opinion on different
worldwide peoples, topics and issues. With graphic images and stories of the Cubans’
dilemma, different prospectives by American citizens, have been generated towards the
Cuban demographic. But how do Cubans view themselves in the media? Has media
portrayals of Cubans changed since 1969? Do Cubans believe that the media has
positioned their character in an encouraging luminosity or a pessimistic lone? My thesis
will focus on how Cubans perceived media portrayals of themselves by the western
media between 1959-1981 and whether this changed by the 1990s-2000s.
The purpose of this study is to do quantitative analyses on how Cubans perceived
media portrayals of themselves by the western media between 1959-1981 and whether
this changed by the 1990s-2000s.
Much of the sources for this paper will deal with personal memoirs of Cuban
immigrants, journalists and scholars. I will critically analyze this existent data and
correlate them with the interviews, newspaper articles and diaries of Cuban refugees.
This way I can correlate all of the opinions and studies. Much of the Latin
American prospective will come from The Latin American Research Review for the...
Bibliography: Aguirre, Benigno. “Social Control in Cuba.” Latin American Politics and Society 44, no.
2 (Summer 2002): 6.
revolution. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1968.
Farber, Samuel. The origins of the Cuban Revolution reconsidered. N.p.: University of
North Carolina Press, 2006.
Fornet, Ambrosio. “Cuba: Nation, Diaspora, Literature.” Critical Inquiry 35, no. 2
Fischoff, Franco, A., Gram, E., Hernendez, A., & Parker, J. (2001). Offensive ethnic
clichés in movies: Drugs, sex, and servility
New York Press, 2008
Geisler, Micheal, and et al, eds
Massachusetts Press, 2003
Citadel Press, 1993.
Hillsman, Roger. The Cuban missile crisis: the struggle over policy. Westport: Praeger
Publishing, 1996, p
McAuliffe, Mary, ed. CIA Documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis. N.p.: History Staff,
Central Intelligence Agency, 1992.
Press of Florida. (1996)
[ 2 ]. BERNARD K. GOLTZ. 1959. Haven for Cubans Protested. New York Times file), January 7 (Current, http://www.proquest.com.nuncio.cofc.edu/ (accessed April 28, 2010).
[ 3 ]. Time. Dynamic Boss takes over a US neighbor. January 12, 1959. Pp. 10-20
[ 4 ]
Please join StudyMode to read the full document