Cuba friendshipment crosses border despite U.S. Treasury Dept. Threats
Ken Weeks
July/August 1999

On the 15th of June the IFCO/ Pastors for Peace caravan converged it's fifteen routes in the border town of McAllen, Texas. The 18 colorful buses, trucks, ambulances and cars, loaded with tons of humanitarian aid, medicines, medical equipment, raw pharmaceutical materials and eighty-three participants crossed the Mexican border.

Even though there were threats from U.S. Treasury officials of fines of up to $55,000 per person, the Caravanistas had voted unanimously to cross into Mexico with their 200 tons of humanitarian aid and take it on to Cuba. Reverend Lucius Walker, IFCO's Executive Director, said, "The U.S. Government just doesn't understand the power of people committed to doing justice."

The eighty-three participants from across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe and Africa traveled to Tampico, Mexico. There the humanitarian aid and the donated vehicles were loaded onto a ship by longshoremen who donated their labor as they had in previous years. The Caravanistas, joined by the longshoremen, flew to Havana to spend a week in Cuba, visiting medical facilities, several cities, and many other areas of interest to all.

The U.S. economic blockade of the nation of Cuba has existed for nearly 40 years and has resulted in the suffering and hunger of the children and elderly of this small island neighbor. The world has spoken out against this embargo through the United Nations resolutions to end it and has voted overwhelmingly against the U.S. in eight consecutive years. In 1998 there were 2 countries voting for the U.S. and 157 countries voting to end the U.S. embargo of Cuba.

"We find our government's behavior toward Cuba to be absolutely shameful," said Rev. Walker. "Our government is threatening to fine U.S. citizens $55,000 each for taking food and medicine to the Cuban people. It is absolutely unconscionable for our government to punish its citizens for being good neighbors."

If you would like further information on U.S./Cuba issues, local events, meetings or to get involved and show your support you can contact, the Gainesville-Cuba Friendship Network, P.O. Box # 15063, Gainesville, FL 32604 or phone (352)331-5069 or E-mail:

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