HAVANA, May 31 (Xinhua) A long awaited dream came true on Wednesday for Cubans of Chinese origin as the Havana Chinatown printing house was reopened to start publishing a community newspaper, Kwong Wah Po.
As part of cultural events to commemorate the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the first Chinese to the island, the machinery dating back to the 19th century purred back to life after undergoing three months of repairs.
The biggest is an American Duplex brought to Cuba in 1848, one of the oldest printing machines still in use in the world, which remains capable of printing newspapers and books. Getting this machine and other printing presses to work not only beautifies the newly renovated printing house but also provides a sense of pride in Havana’s Chinatown.
“Our community has a tradition regarding publications and this printing house had been closed for over five years. It was a pledge of the Chinese community to open it again and publish our newspaper,” Teresa Li, director of Chinese Traditions House of Havana .
The Kwong Wah Po newspaper, the only one of its kind on the island, before being closed for the last five years, was a strong way of spreading news about the activities of the Chinese in Cuba. “Kwong Wah Po shows the daily life of our community, its events and general information about the Chinese in Cuba,” said Li.
The publication was founded in 1944 and in September 1987, its administration passed on to the Casino Chung Wah, as the main center of the Chinese community in this Caribbean nation.
“The reopening of the Chinese printing house is not only about rescuing the newspaper. It also gives the Chinese community a platform to spread its culture and have a new impact on Cuba,”
The rehabilitation of the machines was a challenge for the experts, in large part due to the need to find rare parts to restore these old printing presses. Due to obsolete technology, the craftsmen also had to update printing techniques that had been used for decades.
“We no longer use traditional typography based on lead as it is banned and totally obsolete. We now work with a polymer technique which allow us to make new print,” said Creach. The Chinatown authorities plan to print the Kwong Wah Po newspaper on a monthly basis and distribute it in all provinces of the country where there are Cubans of Chinese origin.
The newspaper will circulate in a tabloid format of 4 pages, three in Mandarin and one in Spanish, with about 600 copies being printed. In addition, the Chinatown institutions and societies want to print other publications that show the presence of the Chinese in Cuba.