IFCO/Pastors for Peace
Organizing for Social Justice Since 1967
July 16, 2013 Contact
For Immediate Release Jennifer Wager: 917-499-4882
Emily Thomas: 347-262-6466
Caravanistas Depart July 16th in
Cuba Blockade Challenge
Caravanistas with the 24th IFCO/Pastors for Peace US/Cuba Friendshipment Caravan will depart for their two-week journey to Cuba on July 16th from across the United States, bearing humanitarian aid destined for Cuban hospitals, churches and schools.
Caravanistas will arrive in Mexico City on July 16th to begin the first leg of their journey. “This year we will take the challenge to cities across the US to blitz the blockade,” said Rev. Thomas Smith, IFCO Board member. “As people of faith and conscience, we must have the right to travel freely to Cuba to share in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in a country that is our neighbor, only 90 miles away from us.” In Mexico City, caravanistas will join with Mexican solidarity and faith-based groups to stand united against the US policy of aggression toward Cuba. The entire caravan, representing Canada, the US and Mexico, will then travel on to Santiago de Cuba.
While in Mexico City, caravanistas will take part in an ecumenical act and be joined by Mexican faith leaders such as Bishop Don Raul Vera. “This is an important show of unity among the people of the Americas, that we, the people of this hemisphere stand against the US blockade of Cuba and think that it is long past time it ended,” said Rev. Luis Barrios, Co-Director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace.
As part of the civil disobedience challenge, caravanistas will carry with them humanitarian aid such as insulin, the majority of which is made by US companies and therefore difficult for Cuba to import. Caravanistas will travel to Cuba for nearly two weeks on July 18th for nearly two weeks of educational and faith-based activities. Caravanistas will also bring 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.
Organizers in nearly 50 cities in the US, Canada and Mexico, hosted events last week, aimed at educating local constituencies about the devastating effects of US policy toward the island. Caravan Week events included a New York City group, Da Urban Butterflies, which hosted an event on women in Cuba; several Church services across the country dedicated to lifting the blockade, an event in California with Congressional representatives and a US/Canada border crossing by the Vancouver contingent bearing humanitarian aid destined for Cuban hospitals and schools.
“This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Pastors for Peace project,” said Gail Walker, IFCO Co-Director, “so we are returning to the model we pioneered organizing against US government policy toward Latin America in the 1980s. We made a promise to the people of Cuba and we will not rest until the blockade is lifted.”
This is the 24th IFCO/Pastors for Peace US/Cuba Caravan since 1992 and is a project of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), which has been working for racial, social, and economic justice since 1967.
“Let us not love in word: but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18
Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO)
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