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Information for Social Change

Information for Social Change

"an activist organisation that examines issues of censorship, freedom and ethics amongst library and information workers..."

ISC 17. 11. An Open Letter to the Librarians of the World


Havana, April, 2003

Esteemed Colleagues,

Once again the extreme right in the United States, in collusion with the Cuban exile community in Miami, is stepping up its pressure on the Cuban people, much as it has done since the beginning of our revolution in 1959.

Among the methods being used by these people to attack and pressure our country are distortion, subjective interpretation, and crude manipulation of the events that are currently taking place in Cuba.

We appeal to you as information professionals and colleagues whose job it is to provide information to readers and library users to make, insofar as you can, the following facts known to your public:

* The people who have been detained and sentenced in Cuba over the past few weeks were paid by different United States government sources through the U. S. Interest Section in Havana, which officially represents the United States government in Cuba. All of this has been made public in a press conference held by Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque. (See:, Granma 19 April 2003.)

* No Cuban librarian, no graduate of any of our Cuban library schools, nor any librarian or paraprofessional who currently or ever has worked in the Cuban library and information system has been detained.

We emphasize here only those matters that link librarians with the problems we are denouncing. At the same time, there are many other questions that threaten and worry us as librarians, indeed, as they do all Cubans, such as:

  • The tightening of the political and economic blockade the United States government has imposed against our people for the past forty years.
  • The imprisonment of five Cuban patriots who have been unjustly condemned to extreme prison sentences in the United States.
  • The United States government's announced policy of attacking militarily any obscure corner of the world, depending on what best fits its own interests.

In these times of pre-emptive wars such actions become even more dangerous than they have been over the past forty years of terrorist attempts and invasion threats to which our country has been subjected and against which we have victoriously resisted.

The world's librarians have already seen how the National Library of Iraq has been looted and destroyed. At the same time, we note how few voices have been raised to denounce and condemn these unfortunate acts.

Finally, we declare our solidarity with the struggle of librarians in the United States against the restrictive regulations imposed upon library patrons [i.e., the USA Patriot Act] under the pretext of the fight against terrorism.

The Cuban Library Association (ASCUBI), which has members in libraries in all provinces of our country, awaits the solidarity and understanding of our colleagues in the rest of the world.

Cuban Library Association (Asociacion Cubana de Bibliotecarios; ASCUBI).


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