LIBRARY VISITOR THREATENED BY POLICE

LIBRARY VISITOR THREATENED BY POLICE

HOLGUIN, Cuba, August 11, 2006 (Liannis Merino Aguilera, www.cubanet.org) - One of the patrons who visits the Gaston Baquero Independent Library, located in the city of Banes, was intercepted by the police on August 5, according to the library director, Martha Diaz Rondon.

The officials asked the patron for his identity card and made a note of it; they told the library visitor that this information would be sent to the chief of his zone of residence so that an official warning would be issued, and that he would be prosecuted for the crime of "social dangerousness" if he continues visiting the library.

The Gaston Baquero Library is well-established in the community, and a large number of people visit it to find reliable and uncensored information, but the secret police send agents to harass people visiting the library.

Cuba's independent libraries have developed into a source of information for members of the civil society. In the libraries readers can enjoy literature without restrictions or censorship, and for this reason the government confiscates their books and uses repressive measures to try to prevent people from visiting them.

The library director, Ms. Diaz Rondon, stated that this isn't the first time such intimidation has occurred. On previous occasions readers have been photographed and videotaped while entering and leaving the library. She said this is a maneuver used by the secret police to prevent people in Banes from accessing this kind of information; the police intimidate patrons in an effort to prevent them from returning to the library.

Diaz Rondon declared: "The Gaston Baquero Library is located at 2007 Cespedes Street, between Cardenas Avenue and General Marrero St., in the city of Banes, and it will continue offering services to the public whether the current government likes it or not."