Blockade of Cuban Libraries

The UN General Assembly has voted for a 16th consecutive year to recommend that the US ends its trade embargo on Cuba, imposed more than four decades ago.

The resolution is non-binding and previous resolutions have had no effect on US policy.

The 192-member General Assembly passed the measure by 184 votes to four, with one abstention.

The vote comes shortly after US President George W Bush reaffirmed that the US embargo would remain in place.

The US, Israel, Palau, and the Marshall Islands voted against repealing the embargo, while Micronesia abstained.

Last year’s resolution was passed by 183 votes to four, also with one abstention.

The resolution calls on the US to end its economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba “as soon as possible”, in line with the UN charter and international law.

Cuba’s foreign minister Felipe Perez Roque told the General Assembly ahead of the vote that the US blockade had been enforced more fiercely than ever over the last year.

But in a speech last week President Bush said the US would maintain its embargo as long as the government in Cuba keeps a “monopoly” on power.
The blockade has a negative impact on all aspects of life in Cuba, including libraries. There are acute shortages of all basic library materials, restrictions on book imports and local publishing, and limited access to the internet.
The blockade also restricts the freedom of Cuban librarians, authors, artists and intellectuals to attend professional events in other countries.
The Cuban Libraries Solidarity Group has called on CILIP and IFLA to oppose the blockade.

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