"By the same token," the report continued, "if the Cuban government wishes to make information available without censorship, it will allow the independent collections to operate without interference."
Mark Rosenzweig, the director of the Reference Center for Marxist Studies, a research center in New York City, contends that Cuba has one of the finest library systems in the developing world and that no books are officially banned by the government.
He said he believed that the independent librarians had no connection to professional librarians and were supported by American anti-Castro groups. "These are a ragtag bunch of people who have been involved on the fringes of the dissident movement," Mr. Rosenzweig said of the independent librarians.
Mr. Freedman, the former library association president, said some association members had even accused the independent librarians of being "paid agents of the U.S. government."
Mr. Kent acknowledged that some of his 10 trips to Cuba were paid for by Freedom House, a human rights group, and the Center for a Free Cuba, an anti-Castro organization, which have received grants from the United States Agency for International Development. And the co-founder of the Friends group, Jorge Sanguinetty, is a Cuban exile and economic consultant whose main client is the aid agency. But those government ties, Mr. Sanguinetty said, do not change the reality of government-confiscated materials and the harassment of librarians and their families. ***
The postcards, distributed at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport by the Paris-based group are part of a campaign to raise tourists' awareness of repression in Cuba.
The cards were given only to people traveling to Cuba on Cubana de Aviación, the Cuban airline.
''This is not a call to boycott flights to Cuba, but just [a way of letting] those who go to that country know that behind its sun and beaches there is a totalitarian regime that represses and impedes freedom of the press,'' Reporters Without Borders Secretary General Robert Menard said.
The cards feature Argentine-Cuban guerrilla Che Guevara's face superimposed on an anonymous police officer, who in a famous image from France's May 1968 protests held a shield in one hand while brandishing a club in the other.
``Did you choose Cuba for its friendly people, its lovely beaches, its rum and its seductive rhythms? Know where you're heading. Behind its cliches, the sun doesn't shine for everyone.
' `Che' is no more than an icon used by the authorities to legitimize their repression,'' the back of the postcard reads. [End]