Friday, June 10, 2005

ALA and Cuban Libraries: An Update

Jack Stephens at Conservator has the text of an open letter to ALA President Carol Brey-Casiano. The letter is from Robert Kent of Friends of Cuban Libraries:

As your term as president of the American Library Association draws to a close, we in The Friends of Cuban Libraries are inviting you to make a decision which will establish, for all time, your stand on one of the most important intellectual freedom issues confronting librarians today: the persecution of Cuba's independent library movement. We are asking you to use your authority as ALA president to invite Ramon Colas and Berta Mexidor, the co-founders of Cuba's independent library movement, to be speakers at the upcoming ALA conference in Chicago.

For six years, a small but powerful extremist group within the ALA has used falsehoods, evasions and coverups to prevent the ALA from fulfilling its duty to condemn the systematic persecution of people who, in an historic challenge to tyranny, are opening uncensored public libraries for their fellow citizens in Cuba. Exploiting the inattention of the majority of ALA members on this issue, over the past six years the extremist faction in the ALA has tried to ignore the numerous reports by respected human rights organizations and journalists which have documented the systematic persecution of library workers in Cuba. Sadly, for the past six years reports and resolutions engineered by the ALA's extremist group to deny and coverup Cuba's grim reality have been naively and unthinkingly approved by the well-meaning but negligent majority on the ALA's governing Council.

Please read the rest.

Mr. Kent has been tireless in his support of Cuba's independent librarians. Unfortunately, I fear his request will go unanswered.


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