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Cuban Libraries Under the Embargo

Eliades Acosta Matos, director of the José Martí National Library, reports on Cuban libraries under the embargo:

The cost of the embargo to the cultural life of the Cuban nation is immense and difficult to reduce to numbers. Still, it can be gleaned from the difficulties we face in acquiring the paper we need to print books, magazines and journals, and in obtaining the oil we need to generate the electricity that ensures, for instance, that our public libraries are not forced to reduce their evening hours . . . Of course, other technologies as well, computers, photocopy machines, microfilm readers, television sets or music players, items essential to the daily operation of any library, also face these same travel-related restrictions. And how could there be a normal and fluid exchange between Cuban and American colleagues when U. S. citizens face a fine of up to 250,000 dollars and ten years imprisonment if they travel, for instance, to a library conference in Cuba without first obtaining a license from the U. S. Treasury Department?

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