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New report: LIRARIANS' DEEP CONCERN OVER CUBA'S MOVE TO RESTRICT INTERNET
ACCESS
(http://www.ifla.org/V/press/cuba160104.htm)

EXCERPT: " 'While the World Summit of the Information Society was debating how
best to improve access to information using information technology, the
Cuban government was preparing a law that will further restrict Internet
access for its citizens', says the Chair of the IFLA/FAIFE Committee Mr
Paul Sturges."
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CALL TO CONSCIENCE: LIBRARY GROUP IS SHAMEFULLY SILENT ON CUBA
San Diego Union-Tribune editorial
January 9, 2004


EXCERPT: "The American Library Association, officially pledged to promote
freedom of
information and expression, begins its midwinter meeting today in San Diego
shamefully silent on just that issue.

"Since 1998, bands of courageous Cuban citizens have defied Fidel Castro's
dictatorship by creating an independent library movement.... "That was too
much for the aging Castro,
still vigorously suppressing any hint of opposition to his 44 years of
one-man rule. Among the 75 Cuban
dissidents rounded up, summarily tried and sentenced to long prison terms by
Castro's regime last April were 10 independent librarians. Their collective
sentence for daring to offer Cubans a free choice of library books – 196
years in Cuba's gulag.

"One might imagine that the American Library Association would leap to
condemn this atrocity against defenseless librarians and the basic human
rights of 11 million Cubans. Incredibly, the ALA said nothing.

"At its annual meeting last June in Toronto, ALA delegates dithered over
inane technicalities....  The American Library Association has a chance at
its San Diego meeting to
correct this disgraceful silence. An ALA task force report reportedly will
include the option of condemning Castro's suppression of private libraries
and expressing solidarity with peaceful librarians now languishing in Cuban
prisons on sentences of up to 28 years each.

"If the ALA cannot manage that, its moral and political credibility on human
rights issues will be irrevocably damaged."
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For more details on this issue of great importance to the international
library community, please refer to our website: (www.friendsofcubanlibraries.org).

Sincerely,

The Friends of Cuban Libraries
(WWW.FRIENDSOFCUBANLIBRARIES.ORG)