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another arrested librarian



           AN APPEAL FROM THE FRIENDS OF CUBAN LIBRARIES

An article in the August 25, 1999, issue of the "Diario Las Americas"
newspaper reports that the home of Ramon Colas and Berta Mexidor, the
founders of Cuba's independent library movement, has been raided by the
State Security police.  According to the newspaper reporter, Ariel
Remos, on
August 23 the two independent librarians, who are a married couple, were

evicted from their home, which doubles as the location of the
independent
Felix Varela Library. Although Colas and Mexidor were permitted to
remove
personal belongings from their home, it is not known if their library
collection was seized by the State Security police, as has happened with

other independent libraries in Cuba.  In the course of the eviction
Ramon
Colas was reportedly arrested on unknown grounds and is now being held
at at
unknown location.  Full details (in Spanish only) may be found on the
newspaper's website (www.diariolasamericas.com) for August 25.

The Friends of Cuban Libraries has issued an international appeal to
protest
this latest act of repression by the Cuban government.  We urge
librarians,
library associations and human rights organizations around the world to
express concern to Cuban officials.  Letters may be sent to: Dr. Fidel
Castro Ruz, Presidente de los Consejos de Estado y de Ministros, La
Habana,
Cuba.

BACKGROUND:  Since April 1998, 17 independent libraries have been
established in Cuba.  These independent institutions make a point of
collecting materials which reflect all points of view, not just the
officially-approved ideology.  The independent librarians refuse to
submit
to the censorship to which government-funded libraries are subjected.
The
Cuban government has responded harshly to the creation of independent
libraries.  The librarians of these institutions have been subjected to
harassment, threats, short-term arrests, and the confiscation of their
collections.  The Friends of Cuban Libraries is an independent, non
non-partisan organization which opposes censorship and all other
violations
of intellectual freedom in Cuba.  Further information can be obtained by

e-mailing: rkent45@hotmail.com.

Robert Kent
(Friends of Cuban Libraries)

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