29 January 2006
ALA Cuba Policy Criticised In Midwinter Conference Keynote Speech
We have received a report from the Friends of Cuban Libraries organisation,
that a speaker at the ALA Midwinter Conference sharply criticised the ALA
policy on Cuba.
There has been no report on this so far in the media section of the ALA web
site, although there are reports on other activities, so we quote from the
Friends of Cuban Libraries statement below.
January 22 marked "High Noon" in San Antonio as a long-simmering scandal
within the American Library Association publicly exploded. The keynote
speaker at the ALA's midwinter conference in Texas, author and radio
commentator Andrei Codrescu, delighted cheering rank-and-file ALA members by
delivering a surprise speech denouncing ALA policy on Cuba. As stunned ALA
president Michael Gorman listened in disbelief, keynoter Codrescu, who
escaped from Romania in his youth, ripped into ALA leaders for failing to
defend the people in Cuba being persecuted for opening a network of
uncensored libraries. "Am I hallucinating?" Codrescu asked the audience. "Is
this the same American Library Association that stands against censorship
and for freedom of expression everywhere?" Codrescu continued: "Cuba today
is the Romania of my growing up."
Extended excerpts from Codrescu's speech can be read in the
Recent News section of the Friends of Cuban Libraries website: