"Neither the Cuban Government nor any other government has the right to stifle or obstruct the free expression of opinions and ideas.

"ALA joins IFLA in its deep concern over the arrest and long prison terms of political dissidents in Cuba in spring 2003.

"ALA supports IFLA in its call for the elimination of the U.S. embargo that restricts access to information in Cuba and for lifting travel restrictions that limit professional exchanges. ALA also supports IFLA's call for the U.S. government to share information widely in Cuba."

Individual libraries, like the Vermillion Public Library in South Dakota, and their boards determine the activities they pursue. Many U.S. libraries have created sister library relationships to support library service across the globe.

Mr. Hentoff's vendetta against the ALA reminds us of a quote from the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan: "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts."

John W. Berry
ALA past president and chair,
ALA International Relations Committee

Nat Hentoff responds: Mr. Berry's own fact is that the ALA is again expressing deep concern, but its governing council has overwhelmingly rejected an amendment that would have called for the immediate release of these independent librarians put in cages by Castro. That is why the library associations of Poland, Latvia, and Czech Republic are supporting the one American public library that is not timorous about defying Fidel Castro. My "vendetta" against the ALA has included many columns applauding America's librarians for standing up to John Ashcroft, but it shies away from Fidel.

Love, actually

I would like to commend Ben Eckerstein on his love letter to his high school obsession [Sex in the First Person, February 2-8]. His skillful weaving of the tensions between erotic ache, adolescent angst, and haunted memory captured my imagination. Like him, I ventured to New York to escape a stifling small hometown. Thanks for writing about love lost, freedom gained.

Roger Hockett

Sour notes

Thanks for the good article on Cuban musicians [Larry Blumenfeld, "Rumba, Interrupted," January 26-February 1] and our government's negative policy of denying visas for open exchange, not only to musicians but to ordinary citizens interested in traveling to that country. If we say we promote democracy and freedom of expression, it is hypocritical to deny the right to travel and communicate with the people of Cuba.

Bernard Rubenstein
Santa Fe, New Mexico


Matt Cibula's review of the Mexican band Molotov [February 9-15] erroneously reported that they come from Monterrey. In fact, the band comes from Mexico City. In J. Hoberman's review of The Nomi Song [February 2-8], the New Wave Vaudeville Show where Nomi made his first appearance was described in the article as Ann Magnuson's "new wave vaudeville show" when in fact the show was organized and produced by Tom Scully and Susan Hannaford.

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