[Imc-uk-outreach] Protesters return from Cuba
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Tue Aug 4 21:17:26 PDT 2009
Protesters return after trip to Cuba
By Ja'Nay Carswell
News Staff Reporter
Updated: August 03, 2009, 3:10 PM /
Lila Nordstrom's interest in Cuba stemmed from the heart-wrenching story of
Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy who attempted to set sail for America with
family members in 2000. That same year, while in high school, Nordstrom
decided she wanted to change things regarding the strained Cuban-American
"She was frustrated by what was going on," said Nordstrom's mother, Carla,
as she awaited her daughter's return from Cuba this morning at the Peace
Bridge. "She decided as a 16-year-old that she would have to change things."
Today, Nordstrom and about 140 others returned home from Cuba after a
two-week stay, hoping to improve relations between the United States and
Cuba. But, with strict travel bans and guidelines preventing Americans from
traveling to Cuba, the group was forced to first travel through Canada and
then return to this country.
The group, all dressed in orange T-shirts, was warmly greeted by protesters
who stood at the edge of Front Park. The travelers cleared through customs
at the Peace Bridge and entered into Buffalo.
The trip to Cuba was in direct defiance of U.S. law restricting travel to
the Caribbean nation. Protesters and travelers alike believe that the travel
ban should be lifted.
"We should have the right to travel to Cuba and for them to come here," said
Cheryl LaBash, a protester who traveled from Detroit to greet the travelers.
"It's time for the blockade of Cuba to end."
As the first group of travelers cleared through Customs, with luggage in
tow, chants of "Cuba, Cuba" echoed over the cheers and applause of
The group traveled to Cuba as members of the Venceremos Brigade, a coalition
of concerned citizens dedicated to challenging U.S. policy towards Cuba. The
members look to erase what they see as a negative portrayal of Cuba in this
Another group of Cuba travelers will also return to the United States today
crossing into McAllen, Texas. Obama; do something now!
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