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Subject:

VB: Swedish Aid for Cuba's Independent Librarians

From:

Inger Malmström <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

BIBLIST - Topics in Nordic research library user services <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 13 Aug 2004 12:10:45 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (1 lines)


Vidarebefordrar till listan detta mejl till mig eftersom det inte fungerade att göra bilaga av själva artikeln nedan.

Inger Malmström, Agnebergs gymnasiebibliotek, Uddevalla och Kubabesökare i mars i år

-----Ursprungligt meddelande-----
Från: [log in to unmask] [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Skickat: den 11 augusti 2004 04:00
Till: Inger Malmström
Ämne: Swedish Aid for Cuba's Independent Librarians

Dear Inger Malmstrom:

The worldwide association of librarians (IFLA) will hold its annual
conference in Argentina later this month. Today a group of Eastern Europeans,
including Vaclav Havel and Elena Bonner, issued a letter asking IFLA to focus on Cuba
and to condemn the repression of the island's independent librarians. The text
of the letter to IFLA can be seen in the Recent News section of our website:
(www.friendsofcubanlibraries.org).

I would like to ask you to consider taking two actions to assist Cuba's brave
independent librarians:

(1) Would you please post the article printed below on the BIBLIST listserv
for Swedish librarians? It is important that Swedish librarians know about
this imporant development, and I am not now a subscriber to BIBLIST.

(2) The intellectual freedom committee of IFLA, known as FAIFE, will need to
vote on this issue in order to pass a resolution on Cuba. One of the members
of the FAIFE committee is a Swedish librarian, Britt-Marie Haggstrom. Her
address is:

Ms Britt-Marie Häggström
Planja Vägen 13,
PO Box 760
SE-131 24 NACKA
Email: [log in to unmask] and [log in to unmask]
Tel.: +46-8-4662402, mobile + 46-733-662402
Fax: +46-8-4662424

Would you please consider contacting Ms. Haggstrom regarding this important
issue? Your assistance could be decisive in persuading IFLA to take firm
action against the persecution of Cuba's independent librarians. A similar request
has already been sent to members of Swden's Liberal Party.

Thank you for considering this request, and please contact me if you have
questions or comments.

Sincerely,

Bob Kent
Friends of Cuban Libraries
-----------------------------------
From (www.friendsofcubanlibraries.org):

East Europeans protest library raids in Cuba:
call on world's librarians to challenge Castro

NEW YORK, August 10, 2004 (Friends of Cuban Libraries) - On the eve of the
world's largest library conference, prominent ex-dissidents from the former
Soviet bloc issued a sharp rebuke to President Fidel Castro for jailing librarians
and called on the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) to
condemn human rights violations in Cuba. [For the text of the letter, see
below].

Drawing parallels between present-day Cuba and the former Soviet bloc and
citing newly-disclosed evidence as "irrefutable," the public letter released on
August 10 by the Czech-based People In Need Organization protested a 2003
crackdown on the island's dissidents, including volunteer librarians, and declared:
"We know what it is like to live in a society where freedom is repressed in
the name of democracy and national sovereignty, and where the voicing of
dissent is banned in the name of safeguarding freedom of expression."

The letter, signed by renowned human rights activists such as Vaclav Havel,
Elena Bonner, Yuri Orlov, and the former Prime Ministers of Bulgaria and
Estonia, was sent to Paul Sturges, the head of IFLA's intellectual freedom
committee, which is known by the acronym FAIFE. The world library group meets in Buenos
Aires later this month for it's annual conference.

In a challenge to the Castro regime's internal control of information, since
1998 activists in Cuba have opened approximately 250 independent libraries
offering public access to uncensored books. The letter signed by former
dissidents from Eastern Europe charges that "the Cuban government has made a systematic
effort to crush the independent library movement through a campaign of
harassment, threats, police raids, physical assaults, arrests, and the confiscation
of library materials and library records." The signers declared: "We warmly
support Cuba's independent librarians, their historic challenge to censorship,
and their brave defense of the democratic values embodied in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, which FAIFE/IFLA is also dedicated to upholding."

This latest rebuke of the Cuban regime comes after a year of souring
relations with European nations as numerous human rights groups, prominent writers,
and Western European governments have condemned Cuba over a spring 2003
crackdown in which 75 leading independent journalists, librarians, and activists were
put on trial and sentenced to lengthy prison terms. All of the detainees,
including the independent librarians, have been named as "prisoners of conscience"
by Amnesty International.

In urging IFLA to condemn the Castro regime, the signers of the letter cited
"shocking details" contained in newly-revealed court documents smuggled out of
Cuba and recently published on the Internet (www.ruleoflawandcuba.fsu.edu).
The Cuban documents, which charged the defendants with the alleged crime of
operating libraries, reveal that thousands of books were seized during the 2003
raids on the island's independent library network; many of the books were
condemned as "subversive" by court-appointed "literary experts" before being
ordered to be destroyed by fire. Among the burned library books identified in the
court documents are works by George Orwell, Vaclav Havel, Burmese activist Aung
San Suu Kyi and banned Cuban authors.

Cuba's independent librarians receive aid from abroad, including the U.S.
government, and spokespersons for the Cuban government, in addition to denying
the existence of censorship in their country, insist that the independent
librarians have been justly convicted for being "paid agents of the United States
government." This argument was rejected by the signers of the letter to IFLA,
who stated "It can never be a crime to oppose censorship or to open a library"
and declared: "As we know from the historical experience of Eastern Europe, it
is not a crime for human rights activists to receive moral and material
support from other nations."

The signers of the letter stated that the upcoming IFLA conference in
Argentina "offers an opportunity for the worldwide library community to focus
attention on, and make a definitive statement against, the Cuban government's
intensified campaign of repression being waged against the independent librarians."

"As the worldwide voice of librarians and a leading defender of the right to
freedom of expression, especially in relation to libraries, FAIFE/IFLA has a
duty to speak out clearly on Cuba," said the statement.


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