Ann Sparanese’s letter to the Times-Picayune

The New Orleans Times Picayune published an article on Sunday about Madeleine Albright’s appearance at the ALA Conference. The article was focused on Albright’s comments about the Cuban “independent librarians,” which really only amounted to a couple of sentences, and provided background on the situation from an anti-Castro perspective. Clearly Robert Kent got to the Times-Picayune. Kent has a special expertise in public relations and dealing with the news media.

Ann Sparanese, ALA Council’s strongest supporter of Cuba’s professional librarians, wrote this letter in response:

To the Editor:

Re: Madeleine Albright speech at ALA, New Orleans (6/25/06)

Is it surprising that Madeleine Albright criticized the American Library Assocation for not supporting “freedoms” of so-called “independent librarians” in Cuba?

During Ms. Albright’s time as Secretary of State the Helms-Burton Act was passed: a U.S. law that mandates millions of US taxpayer dollars be spent on financing of “regime change” directed against Cuba. Included is funding for “independent librarians” and other dissidents activities.

If an enemy foreign government was financing political opponents for the purposes of “regime change” in the US, this would be against US law. Such people would be subject to long prison terms. Why should we expect Cuba to allow the kind of foreign intervention in their political system that we criminalize in our own country?

Ms. Albright did not note the violations of human rights at Guantanamo (Cuba) by the US, or the recent statewide banning of an innocuous children’s book about Cuba in Florida. It is apparently easier to engage in human rights hypocrisy and rhetoric than to deal with the truth. Ms. Albright has that in common with the Bush Administration, which she also criticised.

Ann Sparanese
Englewood, New Jersey

One comment on “Ann Sparanese’s letter to the Times-Picayune

  1. For those a little more open-minded, who might not support harsh prison sentences imposed after unfair political trials, I suggest a paper written by Holly Ackerman, an academic librarian in Florida and the Cuba country specialist for Amnesty International, titled “Generations of the Cuban Presidio” and presented at the 24th International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, held in Dallas in March 2003 (just as the political crackdown in Cuba was taking place):'holly%20ackerman%20cuba%20political%20prisoners

    It is unfortunate that Ackerman’s voice was not heard when the ALA prepared a report on Cuba in 2003. It seems to me she is well informed and judicious in her comments.

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