Thursday, December 25, 2008

July 2009 - IFCO/Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba

Time for Real Change - Time to end the US blockade of Cuba

Support the July 2009 IFCO/Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba

In July 2009 IFCO/Pastors for Peace will be sending its 20th Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba, as an act of solidarity with our Cuban brothers and sisters as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of their revolution. We will take with us hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid, much of it aimed at supporting the ongoing reconstruction efforts in Cuba after the devastating impact of Hurricanes Gustav, Ike and Paloma this fall.

We will also take a large contingent of citizens of the US and other countries, as part of a coordinated Travel Challenge along with sister organizations such as the Venceremos Brigade, US-Cuba Labor Exchange, and African Awareness Association. As always we will do this without requesting or accepting a US treasury department license to go, because we do not cede the right to any authority to license our conscience.

But this will not just be another caravan. We believe that NOW is the time to end the US government's policy of economically blockading Cuba, and banning travel by its citizens to Cuba. A policy that has:

* survived almost 50 years and 10 US Presidents
* been a sustained attempt to starve the Cuban people into desperately rising up against their government.
* caused tremendous economic suffering in Cuba over half a century, as well as hurting business in the US.
* divided hundreds of thousands of Cuban families.
* prevented both nations from interchanging and learning from each other.
* been subject to almost universal international condemnation, and is immoral and inhuman.

We judge that the situation in Congress is the best it has been for many years to repeal the laws on which the blockade is based. We note that President elect Obama said on the campaign trail in Miami that he would remove all restrictions on Cuban Americans visiting Cuba and sending money to their families, and this commitment was included in the Democratic Party's National Platform for 2008. He also said he would be prepared to sit down and talk with the Cuban government. Welcome steps if implemented, but we need to go much further.

* All US citizens should be free to travel to Cuba, whether for educational purposes, tourism, business, or cultural, scientific or religious exchange.

* Normal trading relations should be resumed, so that Cuba can purchase the goods it needs like any other country, to develop its economy and rebuild after the hurricanes, and so that the US can purchase the products that Cuba specializes in such as a number of unique life saving vaccines.

We call on citizens of faith and conscience throughout the North American continent to come with us, work with us, organize with us to ensure that this 20th caravan has the numbers, the aid, and the educational and media impact to make it a major focus for a broader push to end this blockade once and for all.


In July we will travel in school buses, trucks and cars on 15 different routes to visit up to 140 US and Canadian cities. At every stop we will educate people about the blockade while collecting construction supplies and tools for hurricane reconstruction, as well as medical, educational and cultural supplies.

Our 9 days in Cuba from July 24th to August 2nd will be spent in fellowship with our Cuban brothers and sisters. In Havana and neighboring provinces we will attend cultural events and visit social projects such as organic farms, homes for the elderly and health centers including the Latin American School of Medicine. We will meet and learn from Cubans at every level about the problems caused by the blockade and how they have creatively responded, as well as how they are rebuilding after the hurricanes.

In Cuba there will be an option for skilled building workers to spend about a week working alongside Cubans on a hurricane reconstruction brigade. And as an integral part of the caravan we are inviting Hiphop and related artists to participate and perform on caravan routes, and in Cuba there will be opportunities to meet, record and perform with Cuban artists.

If you are interested in:

* coming with us to Cuba as a Caravanista
* hosting a caravan event in your community
* spreading the word to your friends, neighbors, colleagues or congregation
* raising material aid or money for the caravan

Contact or telephone 212-926-5757 for application forms, publicity materials or further information

Caravan Schedule

July 3-18 Caravan routes through US and Canadian cities
July 18-21 Orientation period - McAllen, TX
July 22-23 Border Crossing into Mexico and travel to Tampico
July 24-Aug 2 Fly to Cuba for 9 day Cuba program
Aug 2 Fly to Tampico and travel back to border
Aug 3 Reverse challenge crossing into Texas

418 West 145th Street, New York NY 10031
tel: 212.926.5757 - e-mail