Sunday, March 13, 2016

End the Book Embargo Against Cuba

There are some great Cuban crime writers like Jose Latour, and Arnaldo Correa among many others. Let's return the favor by ending the book embargo with Cuba.   US publishers have united to ask Congress and The White House to end this restriction on culture and as you probably saw the WSJ and the NYT covered the story earlier this week.

Publishers Weekly has published the request on the cover of this weeks magazine to drive the point home.  Here is how they put it:
Our position:
  • We ask Congress and the president to lift the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba related to the production, distribution, and sale of books and educational materials.
  • The U.S. trade embargo is harmful to book culture and runs counter to American ideals of free expression.
  • Books are catalysts for greater cross-cultural understanding, economic development, free expression, and positive social change.
  • Cuba boasts a rich and proud literary tradition with much to contribute to book culture.
  • Cuba's adult literacy rate—nearly 100%—is among the highest in the world.
  • Exciting commercial opportunities exist for the American and Cuban publishing communities to collaborate for the benefit of readers and writers everywhere.
  • The American book publishing community stands ready to help Cuba's writers and publishers gain access to the global book market, and to help the Cuban people gain greater access to the amazing diversity of books published by American publishers.
Personnally, I've long believed the embargo of Cuba was anachronistic and pointless.  I'm gald the President has taken the steps he has to end it.  There are still significant challenges in Cuba to open representative government free of repression but ending these types of failed policies will only help to open up the country to more freedom.

From the petition site:
On the eve of his historic visit to Cuba March 21-22, we call on President Obama to utilize executive powers to immediately lift the economic embargo against Cuba as it pertains to books and educational materials.
  • As a basic human right, readers everywhere deserve greater access to books and literature.
  • Books promote cross-cultural understanding, economic development, free expression and positive social change.
  • The book embargo runs counter to American ideals of free expression.
  • Cuba's adult literacy rate – at nearly 100% - is among the highest in the world.
  • Cuba boasts a rich literary heritage.
  • End the embargo to make the works of American and Cuban writers more accessible to readers in each country.
  • 72% of Americans support an end to the trade embargo against Cuba (Pew, 2015)
Signing up is easy.

1 comment:

Mark Coker said...

Thanks for sharing, Michael!