Cuba Update from the International Relations Committee

The ALA International Relations Committee has just released a very nice, detailed history of the “independent library” movement, Friends of Cuban Libraries, and ALA and IFLA’s activities in relation to them. I think it is going to be an essential point of reference on this issue for years to come, and I applaud the IRC for putting it together and doing such a thorough job.

4 comments on “Cuba Update from the International Relations Committee

  1. First off, kudos to Rory for not censoring the posts on this issue. This is what I wrote to my friends in Freadom earlier today about the IRC report.

    IRC Report, like Mao, 60% good; 40% Bad

    Of course the 60\40 tally for Mao is the Chinese Communist Party line; in reality it may be more like 20/80..

    Anyway, I actually think the second half of the report is excellent, and brings up very important questions. The whole problem is that the first part sucks, and it tries, as Stephen points out, to put the IL
    movement in the worst possible light.

    It also has huge flaws in reasoning, like statements about “this is what we know” and then ONLY choosing the selection of facts that cast the issue in the light they already see it in. It throws together quotes in a way a sloppy college freshman might, hoping that a string of quotes will take the place of reasoning and investigative rigor.

    However, the FOIA requests are great and it is a shame that our Govt has not
    answered them. We need to support ALA in this. All groups like Freedom
    House and PADF should be forced by law to make ALL reports of their activities in Cuba public record. Damnit, if it is ecret, then this should be funded through the friggin CIA and done as real subversion.
    But to send books and speak for freedom, and then conceal the details is cowardly, duplicitous, and anti-democratic.

    OK, i am not on acid. As Steve Marquardt knows, I was the first person in the
    library world to publicly challenge the ALA to file FOIA requests. Freadom offered to do this with them more than a year before they did. Shucks, they took my idea but gave me no credit!

    One thing to point out about this investigation is the question “Why
    are they not as zealous to get to the bottom of book burning and
    library collection destruction as they are to try and make USAID the bad guy? Clearly there is a bias in their research interests~!

    Walter Skold

  2. Re Michael Dowling’s “update,” the only offense against our principles worse than burning books and persecuting library workers is an effort to ignore them.

    A response is being composed for the Friends of Cuban Libraries website.


    The Friends of Cuban Libraries
    ( )

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