Resolution adopted at IFLA Council II held at Boston, USA on Friday 24th August 2001The following resolution was adopted. 553 votes were recorded in favour of the resolution and 54 against. There were 12 abstentions.

“Be it resolved that IFLA:

1. State its strongly felt concerns about the effects of the US embargo that include

  • Obstacles to the export of information materials to Cuba despite their formal exclusion from the embargo
  • A severe reduction in the capacity of Cuban libraries and citizens to purchase information materials and related technologies due to the economic effects of the embargo
  • Indirect disruption of access to information by Cubans and Cuban libraries caused by the effects on power supply, telecommunications and other aspects of life in Cuba
  • Inhibitions to professional interaction and exchange caused by the restrictions on travel to the US by Cuban nationals and to Cuba by US nationals.

2. Urge the US Government to eliminate obstacles to access to information and professional interaction imposed by its embargo and any other US Government policies.

3. Urge the Cuban Government to eliminate obstacles to access to information imposed by its policies.

4. Support and continue to monitor initiatives by the Cuban library community to safeguard free access to print and electronic information, including via the Internet, and in particular:

  • Support and assist the ASCUBI [Associación Cubana de Bibibiotecarios] initiative to develop a code of ethics for the standards and principles of library services in Cuba.
  • Urge the Cuban library community to adopt fully the IFLA Public Library Guidelines [The Public Library Service: IFLA/UNESCO Guidelines for Development. Saur: 2001]

5. Encourage IFLA colleagues to attend the international conference on information in Havana 22-26 April 2002 hosted by IDICT [Instituto de Información Cientifica y Tecnológica] to help further professional relations with Cuba.

6. Urge the US Government to put policies in place to make sharing of books and other materials on all subjects as well as information technology with Cuba’s libraries easier for all who wish to improve access to information in Cuba through strengthening library collections.

7. Urge the US Government to share information materials widely in Cuba, especially with Cuba’s libraries, and not just with “individuals and independent non-governmental organizations” that represent US political interests.”

This resolution was a homologated version of two resolutions on the same subject.

The first resolution was proposed by Alex Byrne, Chair of the IFLA Committee on Free Access to Information and freedom of Expression and seconded by Glenys willars, Chair, IFLA Section on School Libraries and Resource Centres.

The second resolution was proposed by John W. Berry, President of the American Library Association and seconded by Eliades Acosta, Director of the Biblioteca Nacional José Marti, Cuba.

The homologated resolution was proposed by Bernard Margolis, President of the Boston Public Library, USA and seconded by James Neal, Dean of the University Libraries, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA.

Ross Shimmon
Secretary General
The Hague
3 September 2001