Semester of Graduation
Master of Arts (MA)
Bohemia is perhaps one of the most popularly used sources among Cuban historians because of its array of content. For the vast majority of scholars, the use of Bohemia’s content is utilized to put the nature of the Cuban Revolution in perspective. Rarely have historians ever analyzed Bohemia itself, as a publication. What is intriguing is that historians who analyze the Cuban Revolution usually conclude the leit motif of the insurrection evolved around—and was prompted by—the rupture of the constitutional order. Bohemia, as a magazine committed to democracy—free speech, transparency, fair elections, and so on—provides an important way to see the unraveling of the constitutional order in Cuba. By analyzing Bohemia as a journalistic reflection of Cuban democracy, the anger associated with Cuba’s republican democracy being thwarted by Batista’s becomes clear. In essence, Bohemia is not just a key to understanding the Cuban Revolution, but a key to understanding the very nature and the undoing, of Republican Cuba.
In the dawn of Republican Cuba (1902-1959), journalist and editor Miguel Angel Quevedo Perez undertook the task of creating an illustrated weekly magazine. Bohemia was unveiled with little fanfare, the lack of early attention is a disappointing yet accurate descriptor of Quevedo Perez’s time as director. In 1926, his son, Quevedo de la Lastra, took the helm of the magazine and recognized similar themes of progressive reform clamored for during that year’s presidential campaign. The product Quevedo envisioned balanced the cultural aspects bestowed to the publication by his father, with the addition of a social and political arm. With this step, Bohemia marketed itself as the democratic voice of the Cuban people.
Quevedo determined to keep Bohemia unaligned from any particular government or privately owned corporation during his editorial oversight. Quevedo’s strategy left the messages and ideas within each issue unencumbered by outside influence. The magazine’s diverse content, and belief its ideas should not come with strings attached, resulted in a product readers could trust during a period of democratic crisis and scandal. When Cubans read Bohemia, they actively engaged with a tangible piece of Cuban democracy.
O'Brien, Jeffrey E., "Percepción y Periodismo: Bohemia in 1950s Cuba" (2018). LSU Master's Theses. 4655.