[Imc-uk-outreach] Religious Caravan returns from Cuba
4p2wap at gmail.com
Mon Aug 3 19:23:11 PDT 2009
AUGUST 2, 2009 --- for immediate release
CONTACTS: at the MX/TX border: Ellen Bernstein: 646/319-5902, -5904
in New York: Lucia Bruno:
PASTORS FOR PEACE CARAVAN RETURNS FROM CUBA:
CROSSES BORDER FROM MEXICO INTO U.S. AUGUST 3, 2009:
CARAVAN PRESENTS OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
The 20th US/Cuba Friendshipment Caravan organized by IFCO/Pastors for
Peace returns to the US on August 3, after collecting 115 tons of
humanitarian aid for delivery to the Cuban people and visiting Cuba for
a nine-day program of education and fellowship.
The caravan will confront US authorities on Monday morning August 3 at
about 10:30am, when it crosses the Hidalgo International Bridge from
Reynosa, Mexico into Hidalgo, Texas. Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr., founder
and executive director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace, along with other
members of the caravan, will be available to speak to the media before
and after the crossing.
Members of the Cuba caravan will present the following open letter to
AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
FROM THE 20TH PASTORS FOR PEACE CARAVAN TO CUBA
Dear President Obama:
On the morning of August 3, 2009, we are returning to the United States
after an informative and inspiring nine-day visit to Cuba.
We met with Cubans in many sectors of society --- youth, elders,
campesinos, scientists, social workers, veterans, pastors and
churchfolk, legislators and government officials. We visited urban and
rural communities, churches, cultural centers, and one of Cuba's
renowned institutes of biotechnology. We saw Cuba's universal health
care system in action. We visited the Latin American School of
Medicine, where full scholarships are given to young people from 29
nations; and we were present at the school's graduation ceremony ---
which included 17 students from low-income communities in the US.
We saw the beauty and dignity, the creativity and the giving spirit of
the Cuban people. And we saw the cruel effects and the enormous costs
of the US economic sanctions.
We came away from our visit with the unanimous conviction that the US
economic blockade of Cuba is cruel and counterproductive and that it
should immediately end.
We write to urge you to use the power of your office to bring about a
'change we can believe in,' a change we can be proud of, in the area of
US/Cuba policy. We urge you to seek out new advisors in this area, and
to set aside the stale and ineffective policies of past administrations.
We urge you to implement the following steps:
Free the Cuban Five
End the economic blockade
End the travel ban --- not just for Cuban-Americans, but for everyone
Take Cuba off the State Department's 'terrorist list'
Give the Guantanamo Naval Base back to Cuba
Shut down Radio and TV Martí
Normalize diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba
In your Presidential campaign, you spoke of a US foreign policy based on
mutual respect among nations. As people of faith and conscience, we ask
you to understand that it is immoral and inhumane to use food, medicine,
and critical resources to manipulate our neighbors to accede to our
government's political will. We urge you to set a new course based in
dialogue and reconciliation. We want to affirm the sentiments of the
seven members of Congress who visited Cuba last April: 'It's time to
talk with Cuba.'
We will be returning home to speak out in our home communities about all
of these issues. You will be hearing much more from us in the days to
The 130 members of the 20th US/Cuba Friendshipment Caravan
IFCO/Pastors for Peace
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