A Pastors for Peace US-Cuba Friendship bus caravan came to Hartford CT on Tuesday. This is their 18th caravan and they will be bringing literally tons of medicine and other needed supplies to Cuba in defiance of the embargo.
Father Luis Barrios spoke of the game played at the US / Mexico border. The buses converge in McAllen Texas, and all donations are then examined by caravan members to make sure counter-forces didn’t sneak in weapons or drugs in an attempt to get the caravan busted. Then, at 6 am usually, their dozens of buses cross the border at once. Sometimes border police, FBI, CIA, and sundry other law enforcement officials are there to greet them.
Crossing into Mexico usually isn’t too hard, it’s the coming back that can be tricky. US Customs routinely confiscates anything that came from Cuba; gifts, clothes, whatever. So, one year the Cuban government gave all the members of the caravan a present. They were Bibles, with the front covers saying Cuban Bible Society.
Pastors for Peace crossed the border back into the States. Then, as reporters watched, they loudly demanded the Bibles be confiscated and burned as per US regulations. This prompted frantic phone calls to Washington DC by Customs. “Destroy the Bibles!” said the Pastors. Finally, word came back from DC, don’t even think of confiscating the Bibles. The Pastors kept their Bibles and have gotten offers of $1000 each for “one of those Cuban Bibles.”
Another time, Customs blocked $2,000 worth of computers from crossing the US / Mexico border,. Months later they sent the Pastors a letter saying the computers would be destroyed and if they didn’t like it, they could sue. The Pastors replied, ok, we’ll sue. A few days later came the reply. Pick up your damn computers now. They did so, then called Cuba saying, what do we do with the computers? Cuba quickly replied, the Cuban People have requested they be given to the victims of Hurricane Katrina – and they were!
The Cuba blockade is yet another US atrocity. In November 2006, the UN voted 183-4 to condemn it. Even Cuban emigrants who oppose the revolution now often oppose the blockade because it hurts family and friends they have in Cuba.
Pastors for Peace, a steering committee member of the ANSWER Coalition, face possible imprisonment and huge fines for bringing needed supplies to Cuba. They deserve our support. Check their website to see if a caravan is coming to your city soon.