Since the Revolution, the government’s sponsorship of the arts has yielded a rich harvest in every field. Cuba is one of the few tropical countries to have produced a modern culture of its own. The Centro Nacional de Escuelas de Arte (National Center of Schools of Art), created in 1960, has 41 schools under its umbrella, including the national Escuela de la Música, a national folkloric school, two ballet schools, two fine-arts schools, and a school of modern dance, plus schools at the provincial level. The graduates are superbly trained, despite great shortages of instruments and other materials.
During the first two years of the Revolution, Castro enjoyed being the “bohemian intellectual,” and artists and writers enjoyed relative freedom. As the romantic phase of the Revolution passed into an era of more dogmatic ideology, the Culture Council took a hard line. In 1961 the government invited intellectuals to a debate on the meaning of cultural liberty at which Castro offered his “Words to the Intellectuals,” which he summed up with a credo: “Within the Revolution, everything. Outside the Revolution, nothing!” The government acquired full control of the mass media. Intellectuals, writers, and artists were intimidated into ideological straitjackets.