[Asis-l] Jimmy Carter Promotes Uncensored Libraries

RKent20551 at cs.com RKent20551 at cs.com
Thu May 30 00:58:12 EDT 2002

                    The Friends of Cuban Libraries

                                     May 30, 2002


    When former U.S. president Jimmy Carter landed in Havana in mid-May to 
begin his historic visit to Cuba, he offered both moral and material support 
for the island nation's human rights organizations.  Included in the former 
president's baggage were books destined as gifts for Cuba's rapidly growing 
independent library movement.  Since the founding of Cuba's first independent 
library in 1998, volunteers throughout the island have used space inside 
their homes to inaugurate more than one hundred uncensored libraries open to 
the public; their goal is to challenge the government's system of censorship 
by offering the Cuban people access to reading materials which reflect all 
points of view.  According to human rights monitors such as Amnesty 
International, the Cuban government has responded to the independent library 
movement with a campaign of harassment and persecution.

    On May 16, during his historic meeting with dissidents and human rights 
activists in Havana, former President Carter expressed support for the 
island's uncensored library movement in a conversation with Gisela Delgado, 
the national director of the Independent Libraries Project.  After presenting 
Ms. Delgado with the gift of books he had brought to enrich the collections 
of the libraries, President Carter stated that the Carter Center in Atlanta, 
Georgia, which he directs, will continue to supply Cuba's independent 
libraries with shipments of books, magazines and other materials.  As a 
gesture of solidarity, President Carter signed and dedicated to Gisela 
Delgado one of the books he had brought to Cuba for the independent 
libraries, a Spanish translation of Vincent Roussel's biography "Martin 
Luther King: Against All Exclusions."

   Radames Suarez, a member of the Friends of Cuban Libraries, an 
international support group for the island's independent librarians, 
commented: "Our organization briefed staff members of the Carter Center 
before their trip to Havana, and we greatly appreciate President Carter's 
generous actions to advance the cause of human rights.  The island's emerging 
civil society is being strengthened by Mr. Carter's support for Cuba's brave 
independent librarians and their innovative movement to defend intellectual 
freedom as a universal human right."

    BACKGROUND:  The Friends of Cuban Libraries, founded in June, 1999, is an 
independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit support group for Cuba's independent 
librarians.  We oppose censorship and all other violalations of intellectual 
freedom, as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, regardless 
of whatever government may be in office in Cuba.  We are funded entirely by 
our members and do not seek or accept funding from other sources.  For more 
information, send e-mail to: rkent20551 at cs.com or telephone (USA) 
718-305-9201.  Mailing address: 4-74 48th Avenue, #3-C, Long Island City, NY 
11109 USA.  Website: (www.friendsofcubanlibraries.org).


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