The CLA is already on record in condemning the repression of Cuba's volunteer
librarians, but the passage of a formal CLA resolution at the upcoming
Toronto conference would help to solidify worldwide repudiation of the current
crackdown in the island nation, during which 22 libraries have been raided and
thousand of books and circulation records have been seized. After one-day trials,
at least ten of the independent librarians were sentenced to prison terms of
up to 26 years. Some of them are reportedly now being held in solitary
confinement, and the health of several prisoners condemned during the current
crackdown has reportedly declined as a result of parasitic diseases contracted from
drinking contaminated water.
The Friends of Cuban Libraries have submitted a draft resolution on this
subject to the ALA, and we welcome a similar effort by CLA members for
consideration by the CLA. If any list subscribers would be interested in such a
proposal, please contact the Friends of Cuban Libraries at: ([log in to unmask]).
In related news, Sanford Berman, the legendary librarian and civil liberties
activist, has endorsed the draft resolution condemning the persecution of
Cuba's independent librarians which has been submitted to the ALA by the Friends
of Cuban Libraries. The resolution will be voted on at the Toronto conference
in late June. Among other accomplishments, Sandy Berman is a past winner of
the ALA's Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award.
The ALA's extremist faction has reacted with fury to growing support for
Cuba's independent librarians. Although ALA Councilor Mark Rosenzweig did not
respond to telephone calls on this issue made to him by one journalist, he did
issue a statement attacking Hat Hentoff, one of North America's best-known civil
liberties authors, for his criticism of the ALA's failure of principle in
ignoring the persecution in Cuba.
In a personal attack launched against members of the Friends of Cuban
Libraries and our supporters, ALA Councilor Mark Rosenzweig dismissed Nat Hentoff as
"a self-important, self-righteous, burned-out blowhard, puffing his filthy
pipe, patches on the elbows of his well-worn tweed jacket, decked out in the
cliche costume of the shabby liberal icon." He also denounced Nat Hentoff as "a
self-made expert on 'intellectual freedom'" and a "consistent enemy" of the
American Library Association; Hentoff is a past winner of the ALA's Immroth
Memorial Award for Intellectual Freedom.
Friends of Cuban Libraries