SeaCoastline.com | By Chris Outcalt
KITTERY, Maine - Cuba blockade bustin�. Humanitarian aid by any means necessary. Cuba is our neighbor.
Those are just a few of the phrases painted on a bus that was parked outside The Space in Kittery Sunday evening.
The bus belongs to Pastors for Peace and Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization. The bus is one of 14 collecting 100 tons of humanitarian aid for Cuba.
The 14 caravans will travel on separate routes and will make stops in 127 cities spanning all mainland states before converging in McAllen, Texas. The caravans will be put on a boat bound for Cuba.
Chris Outcalt photo
The effort is part of the group�s initiative to challenge the government�s economic blockade of Cuba. The blockade has been in effect for more than four decades and prohibits economic, commercial and financial aid to the country.
“As people of faith and conscience, it is our duty to resist and condemn this cruel U.S. policy,” said Lucius Walker Jr., executive director and founder of IFCO. “We reject this licensing system as both immoral and illegal.”
IFCO Associate Director Ellen P. Bernstein gave a brief speech to about 20 people who gathered in support of the group Sunday.
“We travel to Cuba to talk and to break down the blockade, but most of all, we�re just trying to take aid to Cuba,” Bernstein said.
The ecumenical initiative has delivered 2,450 tons of assistance to Cuba to date. The aid delivered by these campaigns ranges from wheelchairs and medical supplies to computers and bicycles.
“We really think this blockade is immoral,” Bernstein said. “We want to try and hold our government to a higher moral standard.”
Bernstein is one of more than 100 Pastors for Peace volunteers from the U.S., Canada and five European countries who will travel to Cuba next month.
For more information on IFCO or Pastors for Peace, call (212) 916-5757 or visit http://www.pastorsforpeace.org.