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Last updated on July 23rd, 2017 at 12:41 pm
Nat Hentoff discusses Cuban book-burning with Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury:
Bradbury knew about the crackdowns, but until I told him, was not aware of Castro’s kangaroo courts (while sentencing the “subversives”) often ordering the burning of the independent libraries they raid, just like in “451.”
For example, on April 5, 2003, after Julio Antonio Valdes Guevara was sent away, the judge ruled: “As to the disposition of the photographic negatives, the audio cassette, medicines, books, magazines, pamphlets and the rest of the documents, they are to be destroyed by means of incineration because they lack usefulness.” Hearing about this, Bradbury authorized me to convey this message from him to Fidel Castro: “I stand against any library or any librarian anywhere in the world being imprisoned or punished in any way for the books they circulate.
“I plead with Castro and his government to immediately take their hands off the independent librarians and release all those librarians in prison, and to send them back into Cuban culture to inform the people.”
Among the books destroyed through the years by Fidel’s arsonists have been volumes on Martin Luther King Jr., the U.S. Constitution, and even a book by the late Jose Marti, who organized, and was killed in, the Cuban people’s struggle for independence.
Melbourne’s Age might remind readers of this when next promoting the books of Che Guevara’s daughter. You can guarantee they aren’t being burnt.