An Alert from the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Pastors for Peace Caravan stopped at U.S.-Mexico border
Computers destined for Cuba seized by Border Patrol
Take Action Now!
July 3, 2008
We have just received word that the Pastors for Peace Caravan, which challenges the U.S. blockade of Cuba on an annual basis, has been stopped at the U.S.-Mexico border. As always, the Pastors for Peace buses are carrying medicines and other materials to show their solidarity with the people of Cuba. Rev. Thomas Smith, President of the Board of Directors for the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization/Pastors for Peace, told ANSWER, "We've had 31 computers seized by the Customs and Border Patrol at the U.S.-Mexico border. These computers were destined for classrooms, clinic and hospitals in Cuba. These are 31 classrooms, clinics and hospitals that now will not have the opportunity to have computers." Smith vowed to "maintain a demonstration until we get the computers back" and called upon all opponents of the U.S. blockade to take a moment to protest this outrageous and cruel confiscation of humanitarian materials by contacting the following:
- The Border Patrol, which under the Department of Homeland Security, which can be reached at 877-227-5511
- The Office of Foreign Assets Control, which regulates the U.S. blockade of Cuba, which can be reached at 1-800-540-6322 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Your House representative, who can be reached at the Congressional switchboard at 202-225-3121.
In your phone calls and emails demand the immediate release of all items belonging to the Pastors for Peace Caravan, which have been seized at the U.S.-Mexico border. Let them know that you stand with the Caravan members who are currently protesting at the border, that you oppose the blockade of Cuba.
Take action right now!
No Peace at the Border for Pastors:
Humanitarian Goods for Cuba Seized in Texas
by Chris Cook
July 3, 2008
Reprinted from Pacific Free Press
At approximately 9:30 am local time today, the 19th annual Caravan to Cuba convoy attempted to cross from the United States into Mexico at McAllen, Texas. At this hour, U.S. border authorities are holding up the 'Friendshipment" while agents search for and confiscate all donated computers.
There is so far no indication U.S. authorities will prevent other essential items included on America's broad embargoed materials list passing through the checkpoint, or harass further American and international volunteers en route via Mexico to the Caribbean island nation.
Victoria peace, environment, and social justice activist, Janine Bandcroft is a member of the five bus Canadian contingent carrying goods to Cuba. She phoned from the McAllen, Texas crossing to Mexico to put out the word the convoy's supplies are being taken, saying supporters can contact the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to voice concern at these actions at 1-800-540-6322.
Bandcroft suggested the harrassment may be connected to George W. Bush's impending departure from office, saying;
"Maybe George needs to sell our computers for the money?"
She adds, the local Victoria Goods for Cuba campaign has been notified of the removal of 30 computers by border officials, and says they will be making official complaints through the offices of Victoria Member of Parliament, Denise Savoie.
Trade sanctions against Cuba have been in place since the presidency of John F. Kennedy, more than forty-seven years ago, and American citizens are forbidden to travel to the island without express permission of the government. Ex-patriot Cubans are granted some small allowances to visit relatives in times of family emergency, and can remit strictly limited financial aid to them.
This year's caravan is dedicated to the so-called 'Cuban Five,' a group of Cuban government agents sent into America to infiltrate counter-revolutionary forces, based primarily in Florida, planning terrorist attacks against the country. The five were arrested after tipping off the Federal Bureau of Investigation to terrorist plots they discovered. Last month marked the seventh anniversary of the Five's incarceration.