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IFLA Condemns Cuban Repression

Liebe KollegInnen,
leider finden BibliothekarInnen nicht ueberall so exzellente Arbeitsbedingungen vor wie wir. Daher leite ich diese mail an alle Interessierten weiter und stelle folgenden Auszug voran:
...with IFLA's 1983 resolution declaring: "In the name of human rights, librarians must, as a profession, express their solidarity with those of their colleagues who are persecuted 
for their opinions, wherever they may be."
Den Mehrfachempfang bitte ich zu entschuldigen.

Viele Gruesse
H. Schmidt

Von: 	robert kent
Gesendet: 	Donnerstag, 14. Oktober 1999 15:46
Betreff: 	IFLA Condemns Cuban Repression

Dear Members and Supporters:
    Attached below, as promised in an earlier message, is the formal press 
release announcing IFLA's excellent new report, which confirms the accuracy 
of the statements made by the Friends.  Until now some people have been wary 
of the Friends credibility due to a lack of information about our 
reliability, which is not surpising given the the often heated nature of 
debate about Cuba (in contrast to our strictly factual style).  With the 
release of the IFLA report, however, our credibility has been established 
with journalists, librarians, and the human rights community as a whole.
     There is a great deal of work to be done to publicize the IFLA report.  
If you would like to help in this effort, please let me know.  Warm regards 
to all - Bob Kent
                       THE FRIENDS OF CUBAN LIBRARIES
                               PRESS RELEASE
Contact: Robert Kent                          Date: October 11, 1999
e-mail: fcl68 _at__ hotmail.com                     Tel. USA 718-340-8494


      After a 3-month investigation of reports regarding the persecution of 
independent librarians, the intellectual freedom committee of the 
International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) has published a 
5-page report condemning the Cuban government's "campaign of 
threats,intimidation, harassment, eviction, short-term arrests, and the 
confiscation of [the independent librarians'] incoming book donations or 
book collections."  In a detailed case-by-case study, the committee, known 
by the acronym FAIFE (Free Access to Information and Freedom of Expression) 
has "confirmed the situation including the series of incidents reported by 
FCL [the Friends of Cuban Libraries]...."  Among the individual librarians 
whose persecution is detailed, the report verified the cases of Berta 
Mexidor, Ramon Colas, Manuel Jerez, Mirna Riveron, Rolando Bestart, and 
Alfredo Dennis Camps.  Further, the committee deplores the general absence 
of intellectual freedom in Cuba, as documented by Amnesty International, 
Human Rights Watch, the World Press Freedom Review, and Reporters Sans 
Frontieres and "urge[s] other concerned parties to send appeals on this 
matter to the President of Cuba...."
      On behalf of IFLA, the committee's chair, Alex Byrne, has written an 
Open Letter to President Fidel Castro in which he states: "As you are aware, 
Cuban citizens have formed 18 libraries... throughout Cuba to 'grant access 
to books, magazines, documents and other publications to which there is no 
access in state institutions....'  Sadly, a series of incidents indicates a 
pattern of State supported and instigated harassment of these independent 
libraries in Cuba, including threats, intimidation, eviction, short-term 
arrests, and the confiscation of their incoming book donations or existing 
book collections. We seriously urge you to stop this harassment and meet the 
challenge of the independent libraries by upholding the intellectual freedom 
of all....  We also urge the Cuban government, the Cuban libraries and 
librarians to adhere to the principles of freedom of access to information 
and freedom of expression...."
      The full text of the committee's report, the Open Letter to President 
Castro, and supporting documentation may be found on the FAIFE website 
(www.faife.dk) in the "news and events" section.
      The Friends of Cuban Libraries welcome the committee's authoritative 
report (with reservations regarding a few details) and hope librarians 
everywhere will take action in conformance with IFLA's 1983 resolution 
declaring: "In the name of human rights, librarians must, as a profession, 
express their solidarity with those of their colleagues who are persecuted 
for their opinions, wherever they may be."
      Because Cuba, so far as we know, is the only country in the world 
where librarians are being systematically persecuted, the Friends of Cuban 
Libraries hope librarians and human rights activists everywhere will express 
solidarity by: (1) writing letters of protest to Cuban officials, (2) 
requesting protests from their own national government, (3) asking their 
nation's diplomats in Havana to visit the independent libraries, (4) giving 
donations of books, writing paper, ballpoint pens, and other supplies to 
people traveling to Cuba so they can be personally delivered to the 
independent librarians (Do not send letters or packages in the mail as they 
are confiscated before arrival), and (5) translating this message, if 
appropriate, and sending it to newspapers, magazines, listserves and 
bulletin boards, whether electronic or in paper form.
      For futher details, please contact the Friends of Cuban Libraries via 
Robert Kent (e-mail: rkent20551 _at__ cs.com or fcl68 _at__ hotmail.com), telephone 
(USA) 718-340-8494, or regular mail: 474 48th Avenue, Apt. 3-C, Long Island 
City, NY 11109 USA.
      Background: The Friends of Cuban Libraries, founded in June 1999, is 
an independent, non-partisan, non-profit support group for Cuba's 
independent libraries.  We oppose censorship and all other violations of 
intellectual freedom in Cuba, as defined by the Universal Declaration of 
Human Rights, regardless of whatever leader or political party is in office. 
  We are funded entirely by donations from our members and do not seek or 
accept funding from outside sources.

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