Cuba television started broadcasting on October 14, 1950.
Union Radio-TV made the first television broadcast from Havana. It caught on like wildfire. Soon there were four companies that dominated the scene in Cuba.
Just as the local movie theatres spread American ideas, this influence increased with television. American programs were popular and affected Cuban culture.
There was control of the media under the Batista regime in the 1950s and this continues today. The Cuban government jams the signals from Miami-based stations Radio and TV Marti.
Most Cubans are stuck with watching a handful of channels run by the state, and a news channel from Venezuela. These broadcast an endless parade of pro-government programs, but also lots of clandestine American shows: Two Broke Girls, the Discovery channel specials, Suits. Mike and Molly, and the Mentalist. All these and more are featured with Spanish subtitles.
The Christmas greeting broadcast across Cuba in 2014
After watching the usual news broadcast, the Cuban population gets to see life in America on the TV shows. They can also tune into popular soap operas from South America.
Tourist hotels in Cuba have satellite dishes and a far wider choice of channels... which these days includes three that are broadcast in Chinese. If you walk in on your maid changing the beds, she’ll be glued to the screen.
Some Cubans risk arrest by hiding satellite dishes to catch a look at world news and sports.
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