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This chapter centers on the first year of the Cuban Revolution and explores how the government’s social, political, cultural, and economic transformations began to alter the function of television in Cuban society. The analysis pays special attention to the production of fiction and non-fiction programming about the revolution, Fidel Castro’s ongoing appearances on television, and changes in commercial television’s programming flow. The chapter also analyzes Castro’s appearances on U.S. panel shows to demonstrate how language, politics, and control of production influenced his televised performances. While during 1959 Cuban television functioned as a commercial enterprise, the government began to infiltrate various aspects of production to use the medium for political gain. Commercial television offered a visual and narrative preview of some of the emerging representations that would define Cuba’s State-controlled televised system in the early 1960s.

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