[HCCN] Maine & Quebec support Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba

Judy_Robbins Judy at RobbinsAndRobbins.com
Tue Jun 30 09:34:07 EDT 2015


Maine people renew support for Cuban “Friendshipment” campaigns
By Tom Whitney, Let Cuba Live <http://www.letcubalive.org/>
Acting on two sides of the Hemisphere on June 27, Canadian and U.S. activists jointly challenged the continuing U.S. dirty war against Cuba, in place for over 50 years. Vancouver and Montreal defenders of Cuban independence delivered humanitarian aid material to U.S. counterparts in Washington State and Maine, respectively. These would arrange for the supplies to be delivered to the Pastors for Peace Friendshipment caravans that challenge the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba, and have done so every year since 1992.
The caravans – there are eight this year – travel through the United States to McAllen, Texas.  From there the Pastors for Peace group takes the humanitarian supplies to Tampico, Mexico, for shipment later to Cuba.
Inspired by the late Pastors for Peace founder and leader Rev. Lucius Walker, the Cuba solidarity activists are purposefully defying U.S. rules on the blockade, particularly by not securing a license for sending humanitarian aid to Cuba. The U.S. economic blockade continues despite recently improved U.S. Cuban relations.
Following a rally in Montreal, 12 members of the Quebec–Cuba Caravane d’Amitie transported aid material, mostly medical supplies, to Coaticook, a few miles north of Quebec’s border with Vermont. There, seven members of Maine’s Let Cuba Live organization joined them to exchange greetings, refreshments, expressions of solidarity with Cuba and denunciations of the blockade.
Speaking for the Quebecers, Francesco Di Feo lauded the Maine people for their persistence in a struggle that will end, he said, only when the blockade and U.S. interference in Cuban affairs are gone. In response, Maria Sanchez, from Portland, Maine, (and originally from Lima, Peru) spoke of Cuba’s leadership role in promoting social justice and Latin American unity.  
Later the two groups moved together to the U.S. border station at Norton, Vermont. Officials there efficiently and amiably inspected the donated supplies and approved their entry into the United States, fully aware they were on their way to Cuba. Once more this year they bid farewell to the Let Cuba Live people with, “See you next year.” Earlier border challenges in the 17-year history of the bi-national project triggered confrontations, and even confiscation of aid material.
Let Cuba Live held a well–attended solidarity and fund-raising event at the Southern Maine Workers Center in Portland on June 28. Those on hand enjoyed beans and rice, fresh greens from Buckfield, Maine, and Maria Sanchez’ famous flan as they viewed the Catherine Murphy film “Maestra,” about Cuba’s 1961 literacy campaign.
Later, discussion centered on prospects for normalization of relations between the two countries and touched on the need for the U.S. government to repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1965 and return the Guantanamo base to Cuba. One speaker recalled Lucius Walker’s plea spoken in Monument Square in Portland on July 21, 2001.  In order to defeat the blockade, Walker called for confrontation against the “powers,” despite all obstacles. He was in Portland that day in support of an upcoming Let Cuba Live border action which two weeks later he joined.  
On June 30 two Let Cuba Live members transported both Quebec and Maine aid material to Albany, N.Y. At a solidarity event there, they transferred it to a Pastors for Peace bus for delivery to Cuba. Maine people donated construction materials and tools, medical and school supplies, and sports equipment.

Let Cuba Live
a Maine Committee in Solidarity with Cuba
mail at letcubalive.org

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