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Ellen Bernstein (646) 319-5902 – Pharr, Texas
Caravan to Cuba to Cross US/Mexico Border in Defiance of US Blockade and Travel Ban
Over 100 North Americans and Europeans demand “Love is Our License” in memory of Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr. on the 22nd Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba
WASHINGTON - July 20 - On July 20th, 2011, the 22nd Pastors for Peace US/Cuba Friendshipment Caravan will cross the US/Mexico border on its way to Cuba. They will deliver 100 tons of humanitarian aid and defy the US trade and travel blockade against Cuba. This aid includes everything from computers to pencils, hammers to plumbing pipes, medications to portable solar panels.
"Today at the US/Mexico border we will stand together with peace-loving people all over the world against the cruel and inhumane US blockade against Cuba. The US blockade is a criminal policy aimed against the people of Cuba, and it is our human obligation to see that this blockade is ended," said IFCO board president Rev. Thomas E. Smith.
This year's Caravan to Cuba will focus on the achievements of Cuba's young people through a program of meetings and exchanges with students, artists, scientists and farmers. "We are especially looking forward to witnessing the graduation ceremony at the Latin American School of Medicine. This year 20 young people from the United States, who received a free medical education in Cuba, will walk across the stage as professionals ready to bring low-cost health care to those who need it most in the US," said Ellen Bernstein, acting co-director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace.
The Caravan will also meet with the families of the Cuban 5, political prisoners held unjustly in US jails since 1998.
The response of US border officials to the Caravan varies from year to year, and often items of humanitarian aid have been confiscated. Most notably, in 1993 a little yellow school bus bound for Cuba was detained by US Customs, and then released after 23 days of a hunger strike by 13 participants aboard the bus. In 1996, five people fasted for 93 days for the release of hundreds of computers. Last year 5 computers were confiscated. Press is invited to cover the crossing. Caravan participants will be available for interviews on the border in Texas, as well as over the phone. Photos are available upon request.
The Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan is a project of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), which has been working for racial, social, and economic justice since 1967.#
For more about events and route stops, updates and photos from the road see our website: www.pastorsforpeace.org
For updates on the border crossing, follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pastorsforpeace