Local 10 is first local TV station to base crew in Havana

HAVANALocal 10 News is making history in 2017 as the "One & Only" has become the first local television station in the United States to base a full-time news crew in Cuba.

Local 10 News reporter Hatzel Vela and photojournalist Brian Ely have already moved to Havana and will begin reporting from Cuba today to bring viewers the very latest news from the island nation on a daily basis.

WPLG has a rich history of covering news from inside Cuba for decades, including many firsts, a Major League Baseball game in Cuba in 1999, three papal visits, diplomatic talks resuming between the United States and Cuba, the U.S. Embassy reopening, the visit by President Obama, and the recent death of Fidel Castro.  

In 2015, Vela was the first American reporter granted permission to travel across the entire country of Cuba, which led to his groundbreaking 30-part series of stories “Cuba Coast to Coast." 

"This is historic for us, and this is a historic time to be in Cuba," said Vela from Havana. “We have traveled to Cuba more than a dozen times in recent years, but each time we’ve had limited time on the island and were in Cuba to cover specific events. Now we will have time to find stories that haven’t been told.

"We understand the weight of this assignment and the expectations of our viewers, particularly those in the Cuban exile community,” added Vela.

With a news crew stationed in Cuba, Local 10 will be able to tell unique stories that will give a deeper understanding of what is happening in real time on the island.

“We are very proud of the work that we’ve done in Cuba over the past few years,” said WPLG President Bert Medina.   “This opportunity takes it to a whole new level.  We are making this investment because the Cuba story is very important to our community."

WPLG's arrangement with the Cuban government comes with no strings attached, providing the station with the freedom to live up to its journalistic standards.

"The only request from the Cuban government was a promise that our coverage would be fair,"  said WPLG Vice President of News Bill Pohovey. "That’s something we deliver in all of our news coverage.”