The idea for this project began in Puerto Rico, while I was conducting re-
search for my book Tuning Out Blackness. During the research process, I
engaged in numerous formal and informal conversations with several media
professionals who had worked in Cuban television before the Cuban Revo-
lution of 1959. While listening to their stories and to the anecdotes of Puerto
Rican producers who were familiar with Cuban television, it became clear to
me that Cuba had played a pivotal role in the development of the medium
in Latin America. My first words of gratitude, then, go to these late Cuban
and Puerto Rican producers and creators who, without realizing it, sowed
in me the seeds of curiosity.
While my interest began in Puerto Rico, my passion for the project de-
veloped at the University of Miami’s Cuban Heritage Collection (chc). It
was at the chc that I had the privilege of meeting and working with one
of the most knowledgeable Cuban studies librarians in the United States:
Lesbia Orta Varona. Lesbia introduced me to a wide range of sources, was
always on the lookout for information that could help my research, and
even scanned materials on a tight schedule so I could have all the sources I
needed for my analysis. Lesbia also put me in contact with her good friend
Dr. Araceli García Carranza, the head librarian at the Biblioteca Nacional
José Martí in Havana, Cuba. I am immensely grateful for Lesbia’s ongoing
support and enthusiasm for this project. I also want to thank the chc’s new
director, María Estornio Dooling, and new librarian, Meiyolet Méndez, who
digitized many of the images included in this book. A big thanks goes to all
members of the chc’s previous and current teams: Esperanza de Varona,
Gladys Gómez Rossie, Zoe Blanco- Roca, Annie Sansone- Marínez, and Rosa
Monzon- Alvarez. Their helpfulness, friendliness, and daily cafecitos made
the research at the chc an enjoyable experience.
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