Nicaragua is currently experiencing a crisis of its democratic institutions. In the past months, state-sponsored measures intended to curtail civil liberties have resulted in the incarceration of dissidents, including politicians, civic leaders, journalists, academics, students, and anyone who expresses opposition to the Ortega Murillo regime. As the November 7 elections draw near, six presidential candidates have been accused of treason against the state and imprisoned, most without access to family or loved ones. News outlets have been harassed; journalists and others engaged in denouncing the crisis are detained or have gone into exile.
Cuba is experiencing severe shortages of food and medicine as it struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic, spurring the largest anti-government protests on the island in decades. In response, Cuban authorities have detained hundreds of demonstrators, periodically shut down internet access, and restricted some journalists and activists to their homes. Human rights organizations report brutal repression of opposition groups as well.
The members of The Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM) strenuously condemn the reprehensible, anti-democratic abuses taking place in Nicaragua and Cuba. Since its founding in 1956 as a professional association for library and archival research resources relating to Latin America, the Caribbean and its diasporic communities, SALALM is firmly committed to core values of freedom of assembly and free speech. We stand in solidarity with all Nicaraguans who have struggled to create a democratic society and with the Cuban people as they face a grave economic and political crisis. Additionally, we urge the Biden administration to reverse the tightening of sanctions on Cuba that were enacted by the previous administration, denying the island access to the dollars necessary to import food and medicine. These sanctions have led to needless suffering, particularly during the current pandemic emergency.
Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM)