The shameful silence on Cuba by America’s librarians
"Given its crystal-clear position, it was with a great deal of dismay that I learned that the American Library Association has taken no action to condemn the banning of books and the imprisonment and torture of librarians 90 miles away from our shores, in Cuba. In March 1988, two residents of Las Tunas — Ramon Colas and Berta Mexidor — opened a private library in their home, dedicated to offering Cubans books not officially available. The Felix-Varela Library was the first of a network of private libraries that were established by volunteers in Cuba to bring light to the oppression of Castro’s police state. One hundred three libraries and 182,000 registered patrons were affiliated with the expanding Independent Libraries Project by the end of 2002.
Amazingly enough, the final report of the A.L.A. declined to recognize the new Cuban libraries as “libraries” and the librarians themselves were referred to as “individuals associated with these collections.” Am I hallucinating? Is this the same American Library Association that stands against censorship and for freedom of expression everywhere? This organization cannot logically condone imprisonment and torture of librarians: Yet somehow it can act against Provision 215 of the Patriot Act but approve of Fidel Castro’s Order 88, which denies all the rights we cherish."