SocraticGadfly: Dallas Peace Center challenges Cuba embargo

July 16, 2008

Dallas Peace Center challenges Cuba embargo

Via press release e-mail:
Dallasite Rev. Diane Baker and other members of the 19th US/Cuba Friendshipment Caravan returned to the US July 14 after challenging the US blockade on travel to Cuba and delivering nearly 100 tons of humanitarian aid to that island nation. When they crossed through Mexico and reached the US border at Hidalgo, the members of the caravan were processed through US Immigration and Customs.

Responding to constant pressure from communities all across the US, US officials then returned to the caravan the 32 computers that had been seized on July 3 when they crossed the border on their way to Cuba.

"It's difficult for even the US government to enforce the blockade against us, since they know that we are acting on the basis of our moral principles — principles which are supported by the great majority of the US people," said Rev. Thomas Smith, president of the board of directors of IFCO/Pastors for Peace.

Determined caravanistas then hand-carried the 32 computers across the International Bridge from Hidalgo, Texas, into Reynosa, Mexico.
The computers will be sent from Reynosa on to Cuba, which means that every item of the nearly 100 tons of humanitarian aid collected by the caravan from all across the US will in fact be donated to Cuba.

"We appreciate that the computers were released today. But our work could not be complete until we knew for sure that the computers would be on their way to their intended home," said Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr., executive director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace.

The caravan program in Cuba included visits to different provinces, homes for the elderly, and health care sites. Caravanistas also visited the Latin American School of Medicine, where young people from 30 nations of the Americas and Africa are studying medicine on full scholarship in order to serve as physicians in their home countries. More than 100 of the students in this program are from medically under-served communities in the US, including one student from Dallas.

Pastors for Peace is a project of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), which has been working for 40 years in support of social justice.

For more information, and pictures of the trip, visit Pastors for Peace. For more on the Dallas Peace Center, go here.

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