News Bulletin
                                            Date: June 21, 2001

                                      MORE BOOKS CONFISCATED

    Two shipments of books sent to independent libraries in Cuba have been
confiscated in recent days, according to a report by Alida Viso Bello in the
June 20 issue of CubaNet (  As reported by Havana librarian
Ricardo Gonzalez, a package of books sent to the Jorge Manach Library from
Italy was recently intercepted by Cuban customs agents, who confiscated some
of the books after declaring them to be "counterrevolutionary" and "against
the interests of the nation."   Mr. Gonzalez denounced this act as a
violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which
grants everyone the right to "seek, receive and impart information and ideas
through any media and regardless of frontiers."

    A similar complaint has been made in recent days by Jose Miguel Martinez,
director of the independent Juan Bruno Zayas Library, located at #2719 28th
Street, between 27th and 29th Streets, Quivican, Havana Province.  He
complains that customs agents have also seized some books sent to his library
from abroad.  Mr. Martinez intends to file a formal complaint to protest the
book seizure, which he  denounces as an "arbitrary act by the government,
which is trying to suffocate the libraries free of its control."

    In recent weeks, to the annoyance of Cuban officials, the independent
library movement has been the focus of increased attention on the part of the
international press.  For further details, please refer to the June 6 issue
of the New York Times ("In Book-Starved Cuba, Little Feasts for the Hungry")
and the June 8 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education ("Independent
Libraries in Cuba Boldly Defy Government's Lock on Information").  More than
90 independent libraries, with the avowed goal of offering uncensored books
to the Cuban people, now exist in the Caribbean nation.  Supporters of the
Cuban government have denounced the independent librarians as dangerous
subversives and "crypto-fascists."  Reports documenting the Cuban
government's repression of the independent librarians have been issued by
Amnesty International and the International Federation of Library

    Comments regarding the confiscation of library books may be sent to Mr.
Eliades Acosta, a Cuban official who denies that the independent librarians
are being subjected to repression.  His e-mail address is:
([log in to unmask]).  Please forward any responses to the Friends of
Cuban Libraries.

The Friends of Cuban Libraries

    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, please send e-mail to: ([log in to unmask]).  Telephone: (USA)
718-340-8494.  Mailing address: 4-74 48th Avenue, Apt. 3-C, Long Island City,
NY 11109 USA.