Havana -- The IFCO/Pastors for Peace 20th anniversary caravan cargo of nearly 100 tons of humanitarian aid has arrived in Cuba, reported Prensa Latina this weekend. This 23rd Friendshipment included five vehicles and four containers of medical, educational and construction aid, collected by groups from across the US, Canada and Mexico. Read more >
Humanitarian Aid Caravan to Cuba to Cross US/Mexico Border Press conference and Photo opportunity with caravan school buses colorfully painted and examples of the aid to be displayed
Wednesday, July 18th @ 1pm
The Caravanistas participating the 23rd Friendshipment caravan organized by IFCO/Pastors for Peace who were held up at the border of Vancouver and Washington State are free and on their way to Cuba!!!
After a 24-hour struggle ALL the aid the Caravanistas were carrying was delivered across the Canadian border to the United States WITHOUT a license and WITHOUT the payment of a bond. Customs officials had initially insisted that a bond needed to be paid in order for the aid to be transported across the border. Last year, Caravanistas encountered the same problem but with the help of legal counsel were able to successfully argue that humanitarian aid is exempt from the bond requirement. We held our ground then and we did so again at Vancouver.
The success was due to a combination of efforts --
- a continuous spirited protest at the border by Caravanistas and supporters on both sides of the crossing,
- an incredibly organized news conference at the border attended by various news outlets during which some of the deflated basketballs and other used sports equipment were put on display for the world to see just the US government chose to target the caravan this year,
- calls from supporters and our emergency response network to their elected officials to demand the release of the sports equipment
- the creative efforts of our committed social media activists
- and of course the brilliant legal advice of our attorney Linda Backiel with additional support from many other attorneys across the country
During this encounter we were reminded of the earlier caravans. Indeed, the incident in Vancouver is reminiscent of the encounters we've had over the past 20 years where small inconsequential items are targeted by the US government. First toasters and bibles, then bicycles and computers.....now used sports equipment.
When we asked the customs officials whether they really planned to hold up our caravan because of a box of old used baseball mitts and soccer balls, the official replied "yep".
Thankfully our earnest, hardworking and dedicated supporters on either side of the Vancouver/Pacific Highway border won the day.
For twenty years IFCO/Pastors for Peace has enjoyed a strong partnership with our international partners from Europe, Canada and Mexico in fighting the US blockade of Cuba. This victory is another example of the importance of our international effort to break the blockade and is a wonderful way to kick off the 20th anniversary US-Cuba Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba.
We are happy to report that the Caravanistas at the border are free and on their way to Cuba,
Thank you all so much for your wonderful support!
Onward to Cuba!!
Download the caravan brochure to use in your organizing efforts! Read more >
WASHINGTON, DC, APR. 17-21, 2012: FIVE DAYS FOR THE CUBAN FIVE
Tuesday, April 17
All day of lobbying on Capitol Hill
Wednesday, April 18
Lobby activities continue with distribution of information to elected officials.
2pm-4:30 pm Discussion of the Flawed Trial of the Cuban Five as Described in Stephen Kimbers’s Book, What Lies Across the Water at the University of California Washington Center 1608 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. Host: Wayne S. Smith, Senior Fellow, Center for International Policy, and Former Chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. Presenter: Stephen Kimber is an award-winning Canadian journalist and writer. The author of one novel and seven books of nonfiction, he is Professor of Journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Canada, where he specializes in nonfiction.
7pm: Screening of the documentary “Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up, Nyumburu Cultural Center at University of Maryland, with the participation of invited guest Miguel Barnet, President of the National Association of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC)
Thursday April 19
Morning: setting up outreach tables in strategic points around Washington D.C.
6:00 pm, 102 Park Ave, Takoma Park, MD . Community Event to launch a new committee in Takoma Park in support of the Cuban 5. Local elected officials will be invited. Distribution of information and showing of the new documentary “Esencias” about the historic tour of La Colmenita in the U.S. in October 2011. Local elected officials will be invited. Distribution of information and showing of the new documentary “Esencias” about the historic tour of La Colmenita in the U.S. in October 2011.
7pm: Screening of the documentary “Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up,” Blackburn Center Auditorium, Howard University, 2400 Sixth Street, NW featuring Professor Piero Gleijeses, author of Conflicting Mission: Havana, Washington and Cuba 1959-1976.
Friday, April 20
“OBAMA GIVE ME FIVE”
Public Event, Festival Center, 1640 Columbia Road, NW. Beginning at 6 pm with the traveling exhibit, Humor From My Pen, the political cartoons of Gerardo Hernandez. Meeting begins at 7pm with topics including; 1) Lift the blockade of Cuba 2) End the Travel Ban 3) Free the Cuban Five, 4) Remove Cuba from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism and 5) Return Guantanamo to Cuba.
Mavis Anderson: Senior Associate at Latin America Working Group (LAWG)
James Early: Director, Cultural Heritage Policy, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Salim Lamrani: Lecturer at Paris Sorbonne Paris IV University and Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée University and French journalist, specialist on relations between Cuba and the US
Saul Landau: Professor, author, filmmaker. Emmy Award for his film produced with filmmaker Haskell Wexler, Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang (1980). His most recent documentary “Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up”
Wayne Smith: Senior Fellow, Center for International Policy and Former Chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.
Jose Pertierra: Immigration Attorney. He represents the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the case of Luis Posada Carriles’s extradition.
Poetry readings by invited guest Nancy Morejón, one of Cuba’s major authors and poets and Washington DC local artist Abayomi Huria.
U.S. and International guests: Cindy Sheehan, Norman Paech (Germany) Arnold August (Quebec), Stephen Kimber, and Brian Gordon Sinclair (Canada) Katrien Demynck (Belgium), Salim Lamrani (France), Juan Manuel Morales Iglesias and actor Willy Toledo (Spain), Invited Ambassadors of ALBA’s countries
Saturday 21 April
10 am, meeting with leaders of different religious denominations (Place TBA) with Special Guest: Rev. Dora Arce-Valentín, Presbyterian Reformed Church in Cuba. Cuban Theologian and professor of the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Matanzas.
1 pm picket/rally at the White House, people will be coming from DC and cities all over the country including buses from New York City that will travel to DC under the slogan “Freedom ride for the Cuban 5″.
We are urging everyone to bring their signs and banners to send a strong message to President Obama.
4 pm, Closing Event, Bolivarian Salon of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, 2443 Massachusetts Ave, N.W., Keynote Speaker Cindy Sheehan. Presentations by DC children’s theater group: “The greatest weapon of Cuba, a tribute to Cuban doctors”, directed by Obi Egbuna Jr. and Hemingway’s HOT Havana: Brian Gordon Sinclair, Artistic Director.
Sponsored by: International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5
For more information: http://www.thecuban5.org
RESERVE A SEAT ON THE BUSES COMING FROM NEW YORK
Be a Freedom Rider for the Five and get on the bus to Washington DC
Freedom Riders $5 – For The 5 (Round-Trip Cost). Bring Lunch/Water Will Be Provided
Freedom Buses Leave: 6am, Return: 4pm
Freedom Bus Locations for Participating Boroughs To Be Announced
Click on the attachment link below to download a flyer, brochure or application!
Pastors for Peace Caravan West Coast Routes Defy the US Blockade! Canadian and American activists successfully transport humanitarian aid across the US/Canada border despite US border authorities’ intimidation and harassment.Read more >
Join IFCO/Pastors for Peace as we honor our founding director and visionary leader Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr. and celebrate the launch of our 22nd Caravan to Cuba. Cultural acts include the New York Labor Chorus and Kongo. Call our office at 212-926-5757 for more information. You can also download the attached event flyer here.