While the release of all the independent librarians in Cuba sentenced to long prison terms in 2003 has been announced, this welcome news is clouded by the pressure being placed on prisoners to go into exile in exchange for their liberation. The librarians who refuse to leave their homeland remain behind bars.
And threats against libarians, library raids, book confiscations and other violations of freedom of expression continue their dismal course in the island nation. Printed below are recent reports gathered by the Friends of Cuban Libraries.
Panicky informers working overtime at the Book Institute
HAVANA, Sept. 22, 2010 (www.cubanet.org/Adolfo Pablo Borrazá) - At the publishing house of the Cuban Book Institute, located on Carlos III Avenue, the workers are wasting no time in denouncing each other for whatever reason, with the goal of keeping their jobs following the announcement by Raul Castro that half a million Cuban workers will be laid off.
Those who once called each other "comrade" are now sworn enemies. The situation is getting difficult, and there is no room left for loyalty among friends. Anyone can be thrown out into the street. It doesn't matter if an employee is a good worker; it is enough to get someone fired if an informer reveals some criticism made against the government, or some other indiscreet remark....
This atmosphere of uncertainty, corruption and informing is what is happening today in our workplaces. The workers don't seem to have believed Raul Castro when he gave assurances that "nobody will be abandoned...."
The speed with which they are undertaking the process of laying off half a million workers is impressive in a country where the liberation of fifty prisoners has been delayed for four months.... Clearly, our leaders want to "perfect socialism" at an accelerated rate, but I doubt if they will achieve it. After all, the Commander-in-Chief recently said that "the model doesn't even work for us any more."
Librarian in Palma Soriano threatened with imprisonment
SANTIAGO DE CUBA, Sept. 1, 2010, (Magaly Norvis Otero Suárez/Hablemos Press Agency) - On August 25 independent librarian Rolando Reyes Brin was threatened with imprisonment by the [police] chief of the sector, according to the librarian's wife, Yuleisis Garcel Pérez.
"This forms part of the strong repression directed against my husband and family," said Ms. Garcel Pérez. "We are threatened, mobbed and repressed by the military in the locality where we live, and principally by the chief of the sector."
"To be an independent librarian in a closed society is very risky; you can go to prison for providing the neighbors with information that the regime considers censored," she added.
Rolando Reyes Brin is the director of the Mario Chanes de Armas Independent Library, located at 119 Máximo Gómez Street, in the Santiaguero district of Palma Soriano.
( http://www.miscelaneasdecuba.net/web/article.asp?artID=29625 )
Gay Foundation libraries seized by police
HAVANA, May 25, 2010 (LGBT Cuba News Today/Mario José Delgado González) - Last Monday, May 17, at approximately 11:23 A.M., the complete LGBT book holdings of Henry Solís Estévez, coordinator of the Gay Freedom Party, Dunia Ortega, lesbian activist, and Aliomar Janjaque were confiscated by the State Security police during raids of their homes.
According to Dunia Ortega, "The first thing they did was to dismantle our libraries. Many gays and lesbians would ask us to loan books. We had all kinds of books, but the ones that caused the most annoyance [to the police] were the collected works of the emblematic author Reinaldo Arenas. Each of us had built up a mini-library in our houses which were collected with great effort. They [the secret police] respect nothing; the only thing that interested them was messing us up and being a wet blanket. But we will reconstruct [the libraries] again, little by little...."
Independent library raided in Cienfuegos
HAVANA, May 19, 2010 (www.periodistas-es.org/Aini Martin Valero) - The Mario Chanes de Armas Independent Library in Cienfuegos was raided by the political police on Friday, May 14.
Bartolo Joaquin Palomares Sánchez, the director of the library, provided information by telephone that agents of the State Security police carried out a search of his residence and confiscated 360 books and some office materials.
In the presence of his small children and his elderly grandmother, a dozen officials entered his home at 6:00 A.M. and arrested him; they took him to the Department of Technical Investigations in Cienfuegos.
The State Security agents issued him a warning notice for being "an enemy of the revolution," which he refused to sign. He was released 24 hours later.
The independent library is located at 69 Logia St., between Vila and Citrico Streets, Cienfuegos Province, and is part of the Cuban Independent Library Project which is directed by Gisela Delgado Sablon.....