For Immediate Release
July 18th, 2011
"LOVE IS OUR LICENSE" Pastors for Peace
Launches 22nd Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba
Press Contact -
Ellen Bernstein (646) 319-5902
Janine Solanki (360) 250-0998
Lucia Bruno (212) 926-5757
Tuesday July 19th 12 noon
Our Savior Lutheran Church (1105 W. Fern Ave.)
Border Crossing Wednesday July 20
On July 20th, 2011, more than 100 US, Canadian and European citizens will cross the US border into Mexico on route to Cuba, to deliver 100 tons of humanitarian aid to Cuba and defy the US trade and travel blockade. This aid includes everything from computers to pencils, hammers to plumbing pipes, medications to portable solar panels. The Caravan has traveled throughout the US on 13 routes, stopping in 130 US and Canadian cities. Volunteers are now loading the aid into trucks and buses in McAllen, Texas, in preparation for the July 20th order challenge.
On July 19th, 2011 Pastors for Peace will hold a press conference at Our Savior Lutheran Church surrounded by humanitarian aid and 14 brightly painted and decorated vehicles, including school buses which will be donated to Cuba. Representatives of Pastors for Peace will provide statements and interviews on why caravan participants are committing this act of civil disobedience, why the caravan does not request a license to travel to Cuba, and what they will experience while in Cuba.
IFCO board president Rev. Thomas E. Smith will explain that the US government requirement of a license to travel to Cuba “restricts our ability to act as friends and neighbors with the people of Cuba. This violates our freedom of religious expression, political thought, association and travel. We seek to end these licenses – LOVE is our license.”
“The inhumane and indefensible US blockade against Cuba targets everyone in Cuba, from cancer patients who cannot obtain live-saving medications, to children whose schools have a shortage of pencils” stated IFCO's acting co-director Ellen Bernstein. “The effects of this cruel blockade are not only felt in Cuba, but also here in the US: In a time when jobs and the economy are key, we are losing out on opportunities to trade with our neighbors only 90 miles away.”
Caravan participants will see Cuba for themselves through an educational and cultural program. This year's program will focus on the achievements of Cuba's young people, and will highlight their daily lives and experiences, as well as visits to organic gardens, health centers, urban and rural communities and schools. The caravan will also attend the graduation of 20 more US students from the Latin American School of Medicine, Cuba's full-scholarship program to train doctors for under-served communities.
This year's caravan is also a tribute to the life and spirit of Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr., founding director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace, who for 20 years gave prophetic and visionary leadership to our caravans to Cuba in defiance of the US blockade. Rev. Walker died peacefully in September 2010.
Pastors for Peace is a project of IFCO which has worked 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
You can also follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/pastorsforpeace
IFCO/Pastors for Peace