Why Should Cuban Children Be Denied Life – Saving Medications?

Posted in

July 6, 2010
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ellen Bernstein 212-926-5757 /646-319-5902 or
Lucia Bruno at  212-926-5757 or 347-423-4330. 

Pastors for Peace Launches 21st Non-Violent Challenge to US Blockade of Cuba

Why Should Cuban Children Be Denied Life – Saving Medications?

More than 100 Pastors for Peace volunteers from the US, Canada and Europe will challenge the immoral and illegal US blockade and travel restrictions against Cuba at the US - Mexico border on July 21st.

The focus of the US/Cuba Friendshipment Caravan is how harmful the US blockade is to Cuban children. For decades, pediatric cancer patients have had to endure unnecessary pain and suffering because US manufactured pharmaceuticals cannot be bought by Cuba.

Among those drugs are anti-nausea medications for cancer patients. “How is it possible that a US-manufactured drug called metroclopramide, which costs forty-five cents a vial in the US cannot be sold to Cuba?” asked Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr., Executive Director and founder of IFCO, a 43-year old ecumenical agency. “If the people of the United States were aware of how the US blockade deprives Cuban children - not only of medicines but also school supplies, art and sports equipment, and so many things -the blockade would have ended long ago.”

The 21st Friendshipment Caravan will traverse 12 separate routes across the country stopping in 45 US states and six Canadian provinces. Along the way the caravan will be hosted in 125 communities that support a new US/Cuba policy based on mutual respect and non-aggression.

They expect to collect 100 tons of humanitarian aid during a two-week caravan that will converge in McAllen, Texas before traveling on to Cuba without a license from the US Treasury Department. They intend to deliver school buses, construction tools and materials, educational supplies, medicines, and medical supplies gathered in communities throughout the US and Canada.

“The Cuban health care system is admired all over the world for its dedication to health and healing in Cuba and around the world. So why are we maintaining a malicious foreign policy that makes no sense whatsoever? The US should be better than this,” said Rev. Thomas Smith, President of the Board of Directors of IFCO/Pastors for Peace.

Since 1992 Pastors for Peace has used fasts, hunger strikes and peaceful non-violent mass mobilizations to successfully challenge US government attempts to confiscate vehicles and humanitarian aid bound for Cuba.

Pastors for Peace is a project of IFCO, the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, and has delivered more than 3,100 tons of urgently needed assistance to the Cuban people without seeking a U.S. Treasury license.

“Pastors for Peace rejects the current licensing system as both immoral and illegal. It is immoral because it endangers the lives of millions of Cubans and inflicts suffering on innocent children, as well as adults. It is illegal under international law because it uses medicine and food as weapons of war to force another nation to change its government. Licensing is also unconstitutional because it requires people of faith to submit their acts of conscience and friendship to government licensing, in violation of our right to freedom of religious expression, political thought, association and travel,” said Rev. Walker.

For more information about events and route stops, see our website www.pastorsforpeace.org where you can check for all updates and stories from the road or our blog!


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