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Posted August 01, 2005 by publisher in Cuba Human Rights

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Media release

130 US residents are bracing themselves to face US enforcement agents
- even the possibility of arrests -when they return from Cuba and
re-enter the US with the 16th Pastors for Peace Friendshipment
Caravan. They will be crossing the International Bridge from Reynosa,
Mexico into Hidalgo,Texas and will re-enter the US at about 9:30am on
August 1.

“We have heard that an order was given from a very high level of the
Bush administration to stop Pastors for Peace this year,” said Rev.
Lucius Walker, executive director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace, from
Hidalgo. “Given the pathological obsession of the Bush administration
with anything that has to do with Cuba, and given their over-reaction
to our caravan on its way to Cuba, we must expect an even greater
challenge from them on the way back.”

When last year’s caravan came home, there were more federal agents on
hand to meet them at the Hidalgo border than there were caravanistas.
The enforcement agents were from Immigration, Customs, OFAC [the
Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Treasury Department], Border
Patrol, and Treasury. They interrogated every caravan participant,
searched every single piece of personal luggage, and confiscated such
controversial items as a paper flag on a stick, a book of poetry, and
a pair of maracas.  This year the federal authorities are acting under
new orders, so the caravan has to be prepared for an even harder

As a matter of moral principle, Pastors for Peace refuses to request
or accept a license from the US government to travel to Cuba or to
deliver humanitarian aid to that island nation. “Cuba is not our
enemy, and Cuba is not a threat. We refuse to be complicit with the
aim of the Bush administration to force Cuba into adopting a so-called
‘free-market’ economy that would be dominated by US interests,” said
Rev. Walker.

“All of the members of the caravan are committed to challenging the
blockade against Cuba, as an act of ‘civil obedience,’” said
IFCO/Pastors for Peace board member Rev. Luis Barrios. “We are obeying
the law that says ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  We are prepared
to face reprisals as we stand up for our moral convictions.”

The Pastors for Peace caravan is challenging the ban on travel to Cuba
in coordination with several other US organizations, including 60
members of the Venceremos Brigade, which are also currently in Cuba
and will also be returning to the US (from Canada into Buffalo, NY) on
Monday August 1.

The 16th US/Cuba Friendshipment caravan organized by IFCO/Pastors for
Peace collected 140 tons of humanitarian aid for Cuba from 130 local
communities in the US and Canada. Nearly all of the aid crossed the US
border into Mexico just before daybreak on July 22, but US Customs
agents, acting on the orders of the US Commerce Department, seized 43
boxes of aid, containing computer accessories such as toner, printers,
modems, and cables, and a dozen second-hand computers.  Another 75
boxes of computer-related aid that were not allowed to cross the
border remain in Hidalgo. Seven members of the caravan have remained
in Hidalgo continuing a national campaign to win release of the
humanitarian aid seized by the US government more than a week ago.

The Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) is a
national ecumenical agency based in Harlem, New York City, which was
founded in 1967 to work for racial, social, and economic justice.
Pastors for Peace is a project of IFCO that was founded in 1988 after
IFCO’s executive director was wounded in a contra attack in Nicaragua.

More information, including photos and audio clips, is available at

  1. Follow up post #1 added on August 02, 2005 by jesusp with 246 total posts

    All these agents to stop pastors from traveling to Cuba and Osama Bin Laden is still free. Figure that out!

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