Resolution on Cuban Libraries

Adopted at 2000 Midwinter Meeting

WHEREAS the United States has engaged in a documented forty-year war of invasion, assassination attempts, propaganda and economic blockade against Cuba, which has contributed to the limitation of the democratic rights of the Cuban people; and

WHEREAS this policy has also restricted the democratic rights of the U.S. people, whose access to information has been limited and whose right to travel freely to Cuba has been denied; and

WHEREAS we, as librarians, do not condone the restriction of free expression anywhere in the world - including Cuba and the United States - but we believe that, as U.S. citizens, the best way to support the extension of democratic in both countries is to end the economic blockade against Cuba and to normalize relations between the two countries; and

WHEREAS in October 1999, the FAIFE committee of IFLA published a report concerning the alleged intimidation of individuals in Cuba calling themselves “independent librarians,” based on information provided by a group calling itself the “Friends of Cuban Libraries,” and a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-supported Florida website called CubaNet; and

WHEREAS, the purpose of USAID is to advance the foreign policy interests of the United States; and

WHEREAS the co-chairman of the “Friends of Cuban Libraries” is a Cuban expatriate economist, who also works for the U.S. government's Radio Marti; and

WHEREAS, this group of “independent librarians” are not librarians, but political dissidents of various professions apparently establishing centers of information in their homes or storefronts, and supported by funds and materials from such organizations as Freedom House, which is subsidized by the U.S. government; and

WHEREAS, any U.S.-based organization calling itself “Friends of Cuban Libraries” which does not forthrightly call for an end to the U.S. blockade against Cuba, is no friend of libraries, freedom of expression or democratic rights; therefore be it

RESOLVED that

  1. The Social Responsibilities Round Table of ALA rejects the program and position advocated by the “Friends of Cuban Libraries” as an instrument of the continuing propaganda campaign being waged against Cuba by rightwing Cuban extremists in the U.S. and financed by U.S. government agencies;
  2. SRRT supports an increase of exchanges between U.S. librarians and Cuban librarians;
  3. SRRT joins the British organization, Cuban Libraries Support Group which advocates a positive program of interaction with, and support for, libraries and librarians in Cuba;
  4. SRRT calls for an immediate end to the travel ban, which restricts the right of all but “licensed” U.S. citizens to see Cuba for themselves;
  5. SRRT calls for an immediate end to the blockade against Cuba as the best way to support the rights of all people in Cuba to free expression and self-determination, rights which are best exercised in a state of peace, not war;
  6. SRRT further calls for the complete normalization of diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries as the best way to promote the exercise of democracy and free expression in both countries.

SRRT Newsletter Issue 134, pp. 4-5