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Letter to The Village Voice
Lincoln Cushing
December 17, 2003
The following letter to the editor of The Village Voice was written by Lincoln Cushing, Electronic Outreach Librarian, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley. Views expressed in this letter do not necessarily reflect the views of IRTF, SRRT, or ALA.
I'm responding to Nat Hentoff's piece on the Cuban arrests. I'm a librarian, and I consider myself informed and concerned about issues in this profession. I even support civil rights. Am I troubled by Cuba's recent arrests of political opponents? Yes. But at the same time, I'm acutely aware of the hypercharged environment that surrounds all things Cuban. What Hentoff fails to mention is that our own government has sown the seeds of this problem by encouraging U.S. funding of opposition forces in Cuba. The dissidents were convicted of "receiving funds and/or materials from the United States government, either through its agencies or third parties," a direct consequence of our Helms-Burton legislation. If the PLO sent my library a big fat check, you can bet that Homeland Security would drag me off faster than you can say "ACLU."
My own government is too deeply involved in an ugly campaign of destabilization for me to tell the Cubans what they can and cannot do. I will not add my voice to those who, though well-meaning and principled, are unwittingly supporting a decades-old imperialist policy.
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