The Guardian 13 July, 2005

Pastors for Peace defy Cuba blockade

The Pastors for Peace organisation is on the march against the blockade policy imposed by the US government against Cuba. This is the 16th time that the Pastors have travelled to Mexico from Canada and throughout the United States against a measure that, in addition to being unconstitutional, is also described by them as immoral and illegal.

The caravan began in Victoria, Canada, and includes 14 routes passing through 48 US states in 16 days, covering more than 130 cities and communities where they will be received by hundreds of people, its organisers said.

The challenge is made up of 125 caravanistas from Canada, Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany, Denmark, Mexico, and Cuban-Americans, which gives an international character to this repudiation of US policy toward the island.

The activists are set to reach the US border with Mexico on July 21 and will fly to Cuba on July 23.

On its tour the caravan is to collect close to 80 tonnes of aid in the form of medical equipment, school materials, computers and other items.

Since 1992, Pastors for Peace, an ecumenical project attached to the Inter-religious Foundation for Community Organisation (IFCO), has handed over close to 2500 tonnes of solidarity aid for the Cuban people without a Treasury Department licence.

The Bush administration has cut back on nearly all the people-to-people exchanges with Cuba and is utilising the pretext of "homeland security" to investigate those suspected of having travelled to the island.

The Reverend Lucius Walker stated in a communiqué that IFCO/Pastors for Peace rejects this immoral and illegal blockade system.

"It is immoral because it is endangering the well-being of Cubans and inflicting unnecessary suffering on innocent children, as well as adults", he said. "It is also illegal under international law because it is utilising a sanction only allowed against an enemy in stated times of war in order to force another nation to change its government."


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