The Friends of Cuban Libraries

                                     May 30, 2002


    When former U.S. president Jimmy Carter landed in Havana in mid-May to
begin his historic visit to Cuba, he offered both moral and material support
for the island nation's human rights organizations.  Included in the former
president's baggage were books destined as gifts for Cuba's rapidly growing
independent library movement.  Since the founding of Cuba's first independent
library in 1998, volunteers throughout the island have used space inside
their homes to inaugurate more than one hundred uncensored libraries open to
the public; their goal is to challenge the government's system of censorship
by offering the Cuban people access to reading materials which reflect all
points of view.  According to human rights monitors such as Amnesty
International, the Cuban government has responded to the independent library
movement with a campaign of harassment and persecution.

    On May 16, during his historic meeting with dissidents and human rights
activists in Havana, former President Carter expressed support for the
island's uncensored library movement in a conversation with Gisela Delgado,
the national director of the Independent Libraries Project.  After presenting
Ms. Delgado with the gift of books he had brought to enrich the collections
of the libraries, President Carter stated that the Carter Center in Atlanta,
Georgia, which he directs, will continue to supply Cuba's independent
libraries with shipments of books, magazines and other materials.  As a
gesture of solidarity, President Carter signed and dedicated to Gisela
Delgado one of the books he had brought to Cuba for the independent
libraries, a Spanish translation of Vincent Roussel's biography "Martin
Luther King: Against All Exclusions."

   Radames Suarez, a member of the Friends of Cuban Libraries, an
international support group for the island's independent librarians,
commented: "Our organization briefed staff members of the Carter Center
before their trip to Havana, and we greatly appreciate President Carter's
generous actions to advance the cause of human rights.  The island's emerging
civil society is being strengthened by Mr. Carter's support for Cuba's brave
independent librarians and their innovative movement to defend intellectual
freedom as a universal human right."

    BACKGROUND:  The Friends of Cuban Libraries, founded in June, 1999, is an
independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit support group for Cuba's independent
librarians.  We oppose censorship and all other violalations 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 funding from other sources.  For more
information, send e-mail to: [log in to unmask] or telephone (USA)
718-305-9201.  Mailing address: 4-74 48th Avenue, #3-C, Long Island City, NY
11109 USA.  Website: (