The article referred to, published in Newbreed Librarian, actually marks a
positive step in comprehending the tragic reality of Cuba which lies behind
the sunny beaches and friendly people.   To his credit, the author makes an
effort to understand the absence of intellectual freedom in Cuba, and he had
pleasant conversations with some of the island's independent librarians,
although he still does not appear to understand the heroic nature of their
effort to contruct a civil society in what was until recently a vast
wasteland.  As an added perspective on the repression of independent ibraries
in Pinar del Rio Province, where the author spent some time, please refer to
the  alarming bulletin appended below.  Sincerely - Robert Kent

                           The Friends of Cuban Libraries
                                   Date: March 31, 2001


      On March 16 five persons entered a library in Pinar del Rio Province,
Cuba, and assaulted two people.   After shouting obscenities and throwing
books on the floor, the five invaders of the independent Love, Peace,
Democracy and Freedom Library, located in the town of San Juan y Martinez,
beat and threw to the ground two people in the building, Alberto Borges Soa
and Juan Antonio Martinez; Mr. Borges required medical attention for minor
injuries to his hip.  The director of the independent library, Valentin
Almiral Miranda, identified three of the attackers as people associated with
government organizations.  According to Mr. Almiral Miranda, the police in
the town of San Juan y Martinez are aware of the attack but have not made an
investigation or arrested any of the known assailants.  Two nights after the
initial attack the library was again besieged by unidentified persons who
threw stones and bags of excrement at the building.
   This news is contained in an article filed by Victor Rolando Arroyo of the
UPECI news agency and published in the March 20 edition of the CubaNet
database (   The assault in Pinar del Rio Province is the
most recent incident in a campaign of intimidation being directed against
Cuba's independent librarians, who have now founded approximately 80
institutions dedicated to the goal of offering the Cuban people access to
uncensored books.  Amnesty International and the International Federation of
Libary Associations (IFLA) are among the growing number of organizations,
including library associations, which have condemned the Cuban government's
effort to suppress the growing independent library movement.

    LATEBREAKING NEWS:  The Swedish PEN Club, a Stockholm-based branch of the
International PEN Club, a worldwide organization of writers, has added Julia
Cecilia Delgado to its list of detainees whose release is being sought as
part of the organization's Writers in Prison Campaign.  Ms. Delgado, the
director of the independent Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda Library in Havana,
is serving a one-year prison term after being convicted of "disrespect."
Although the circumstances of her arrest have not been clarified, Amnesty
International has stated that Julia Cecilia Delgado is probably a Prisoner of

    SUGGESTED ACTIONS:   The Friends of Cuban Libraries ask readers of this
bulletin to express their concerns directly to Cuban officials.  Please send
courteous e-mail messages regarding the attack on the library in Pinar del
Rio and the case of Julia Cecilia Delgado to leaders of Cuba's official
library organization: Mr. Eliades Acosta ([log in to unmask]) and Ms.
Marta Terry ([log in to unmask]).  Please print out and mail a copy of your
message to: Mr. Felipe Perez Roque, Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores,
Calzada No. 360, Vedado, Havana, CUBA.

    BACKGROUND:  The Friends of Cuban Libraries, founded in June 1999, is an
independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit support group for the independent
librarians.  We oppose censorship and all other violations of intellectual
freedom, as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, regardless
of whatever government may be in office in Cuba.  We are funded entirely by
our members and do not seek or accept funds from other sources.  For more
information, send e-mail messages to: ([log in to unmask]) or telephone (USA)
718-340-8494.  Mailing address: Robert Kent, 4-74 48th Avenue, #3-C, Long
Island City, NY 11109 USA.