December 17, 2002

 "He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the
captive, and the opening of the prisons to them that are bound." -Isaiah

    At this season of the year, we would like to ask members of the worldwide
library community to remember our colleagues in Cuba who will be spending the
holidays in prison.   For complete details on the unprecedented effort of
volunteers in Cuba to open uncensored libraries, and on the government
campaign of repression being waged against them, please refer to our website
(   As an act of compassion during
this special time of the year, we would like to ask you to send Christmas or
New Year's cards to the families of two Cuban librarians who are now in

    Please send the first card to Maritza Calderin Columbie, the wife of Juan
Carlos Gonzalez Leiva.  Juan Carlos is a blind lawyer, activist and volunteer
librarian who has been imprisoned without trial since March, when he was
detained for peacefully protesting the arrest of a journalist.  At the time
of his arrest he was beaten, kicked and clubbed in the head with the butt of
a pistol, resulting in health problems which are not being properly treated
in prison.  Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Christian
Solidarity Worldwide have issued appeals on his behalf, as reported on our
website.  The address of Maritza Calderin Columbie is:

       Maritza Calderin Columbie
       Honorato del Castillo #154
      entre Republica y Cuba
      Ciego de Avila
      Provincia Ciego de Avila

    Please sent the second card to the family of Leonardo Bruzon Avila, a
human rights activist and volunteer children's librarian who was  arrrested
in 2001 after showing a Disney film during a library program; at that time
Amnesty International issued an appeal on his behalf, and he was released.
He is now under detention again because of unrelated human rights activities,
and he has been declared a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International.
Holiday cards to his family can be sent to the following address:

      La Familia Bruzon Avila
      Campanario #564
      entre Dragones y Salud
      Centro Habana

    Thank you for your concern, and please be sure to place sufficient
postage on the envelope for overseas airmail delivery.  Cards in any language
will be welcome to the families of the prisoners, and don't worry whether the
cards arrive before the holidays.


The Friends of Cuban Libraries


 in relation to other work as a human rights activistc  Although the
international community is becoming more supportive of Cuba's independent
librarians, the government does all it can to prevent news of this progress
from reaching the island.  It is sometimes difficult for us to imagine the
soul-draining weariness of daily life on an island where people are
confronted on a daily basis with harassment, meager rations, power outages,
and an unceasing barrage of propaganda in the controlled media.  The books we
send to the independent libraries offer hope, diversity and a glimpse of the
world beyond the shores of Cuba, but sometimes an extra effort is needed,
especially at this time of the year.

     An effective way to brighten up the lives of Cuba's independent
librarians, and to let them know of their growing recognition abroad, is to
send them holiday cards.  The simple act of receiving brightly-colored
holiday cards can send a burst of sunshine into the lives of people whose
courage is in need of visible recognition.  Although the Cuban government
often opens and confiscates letters from abroad, the heavy load of mail
during the holiday season will make it difficult for the authorities to
practice their usual thoroughness, so some of your holiday cards WILL get
through!  Please go ahead and send some cards to Cuba today, and it doesn't
matter whether the cards arrive after Christmas or New Year's Day.  Now more
than than ever, it really is the thought that counts!