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Pastors for Peace On the Road Again to Challenge US Blockade of Cuba

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July 4, 2013

What's it like to go on a caravan? Get on the bus and find out! Check out these photos from the 2009 Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba. (PastorsForPeace)

HAVANA, Cuba - Nearly 100 activists from across the United States, Canada and Mexico will travel to Cuba onboard the 24th Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan, which will first tour 35 cities in the US, Canada and Mexico to collect humanitarian aid and expose the effects of the over-50-year US economic, commercial and financial blockade of the Caribbean nation.

According to a news release by the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO)-Pastors for Peace, the action is taking place this month in open defiance of the US government by not requesting a license to travel to the island and bring humanitarian aid to the Cuban people, as it has been the case over the past 23 previous caravans that visited the island over the past years.

The activists will take their continental tour until July 15 to educate local constituencies about the devastating effects of the US’s anti-Cuba policy, the release explains.

Washington’s Cuba policy “bans freely traded commercial transactions, which stifles Cuba’s ability to get basic medicines, it bans US citizens from traveling freely to Cuba, and puts Cuba on the list of state-sponsors of terrorism, said Gail Walker, Co-Director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace.

IFCO chooses to deliver its humanitarian aid without a government license because it believes that the government uses licensing to maintain control over the flow of aid for its own political purposes, the release points out.

The humanitarian aid to be brought to Cuba includes insulin, the majority of which is made by US companies and therefore difficult for Cuba to import; construction tools and supplies to help in the reconstruction efforts in Santiago de Cuba, the eastern end of the island which was severely affected by Hurricane Sandy.

“Many communities of color in the Northeastern US are also recovering from Hurricane Sandy and we see this as an opportunity to show our solidarity and to learn from Cuba’s tremendous knowledge and experience in climate change preparedness,” said local New York City environmental activist Julien Terrell, who will participate in the caravan for the first time.

Caravanistas will travel to Cuba for nearly two weeks on July 18th for educational and faith-based activities.

IFCO/Pastors for Peace have brought humanitarian caravans to Cuba since 1992, led by renowned late Revered Lucius Walker, who was widely known and admired by the Cuban people. The organization has worked for racial, social, and economic justice since 1967.

Read the original at Cuban News Agency

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