Cuban journalist starts career in United States

Isaiah Singleton and Valerie Wells | Journalist spotlight

Journalism opened the world for Grethel Delgado Alvarez, who left Cuba in 2015 on a cultural visa to come to the United States.

Alvarez, a graduate student in multimedia journalism at Florida International University, also writes for the website Diario Las Americas and also for South Florida Media Network.

“Here, I had the opportunity to start in journalism which is like freedom to me,” Alvarez said. “In this country, you can say what you think, and that to me, I love.”

Grethel Delgado Alvarez

Alvarez, who also is a 2019 SPJ Florida College Scholarship winner, studied playwriting in college in Cuba. She published some of her plays and also acted, she said.

“Sometimes, I had the opportunity to travel to other countries, which for the Cuban government it’s not easy to accept, because they don’t want you to know what’s happening outside,” Alvarez said. “It’s a dictatorial regime.” 

Alvarez didn’t know everything that was happening in Cuba, but she wasn’t blind to what they were doing, she said.

“As a writer, I always had the tools to write what I think and in Cuba, I had to put some make-up in my thoughts,” Alvarez said. “That make-up was fiction and very theatre.”

Before she left on a trip to Germany, she went to a meeting where some people told her to be careful because she might hear negative things about Cuba.

“Those ‘negative things’ were, of course, the evident truth: I was in a communist regime and the freedom of the press or expression was almost a sin,” Alvarez said. “It was like I woke up and decided to leave Cuba and pursue the opportunity that I had.” 

Grethel Delgado Alvarez

Alvarez enjoys human stories more than politics or government issues, she said

She wants to write deep articles supplemented with videos. She wants to create packages about places and people in Miami, including underground activities, she said.

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For example, a few months ago, she interviewed Georgette Madison, who was homeless and went to a women’s shelter in Miami. 

“She told me her beautiful, yet hard story,” Alvarez said. 

With rapid technology growth, it’s hard to believe what journalism will be like in the next 10 years, Alvarez said.

“Maybe we aren’t going to read newspapers at all,” Alvarez said. 

Isaiah Singleton

Isaiah Singleton is a freelance correspondent for and a recent graduate of Savannah State University majoring in journalism. To contact Singleton email him at

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