Thursday, July 23, 2009

From Tampico July 23 09

(i'm at the tampico airport, waiting for our flight. the cubans did a very thorough search of our checked luggage, very different from last year. you can click here for photos from yesterday and loading the storage containers.)

(by the way, the pastors for peace want to buy roofing materials to help rebuild the half a million homes that were lost during last year's hurricanes. you can donate online - they want to buy the corrogated roofing supplies locally, in tampico - at

a few of us have braved the tropical heat and wandered to an internet cafe in tampico. they wont let me plug in, their keys are different, so i dont know where all the punctuation is, i cant upload photos, i've only got an hour, so ill make this quick and try again somewhere later.

our two border crossings, in the north, were pretty much without incident. but last night, after driving all day, we got to the docks in tampico around 9 pm and had to wait a couple of hours before theyd let us in to unload the buses.

the people were out in the streets, as is common here, kids playing, elders chatting, and there was much hoopla when we arrived. especially at woodys party bus where the hip hop was blaring and folks were dancing. the dock people took the names of all the people on each bus, reconfirmed the drivers about three times, took license plate numbers as many times, then photographed the license plates. armed military dudes showed up after an hour or so. we were instructed to remove license plates and cb radios from all the vehicles destined to cuba. and meanwhile, over the course of about 2 or 3 hours while all this was slowly unfolding, pastors representatives were negotiating our entry into the port.

for some reason, this year, the authorities didnt want to allow us entry. here is the story as i have heard it from some of the drivers and others. first they insisted that only the vehicles would be allowed in, and that they would transfer the aid to the storage bins themselves. of course this is unacceptable. we didnt haul all this stuff, 115 tons of it, across canada and the usa to simply hand it over to people we dont know and many of us dont trust. i was suspicious that a bomb could be planted, and attributed to the pastors. who knows what might go on. ive had my own cuba files hacked on my computer, theres a lot of frustrated hedonists out there who want cuba back. we were not going to give up those buses.

the next choice was to allow two people per bus into the dockyards to unload. this, too, is unacceptable. we would have been there all night. as it was, there were between 80 and 100 people unloading the gear and we didnt return to the hotel until 4 am.

strange and mysterious. they claim its because of the quote drug war. i think its because theyre diverting all their social spending, as are so many nations {except cuba] to the military and they need to find excuses to validate their priorities. i mean really ... the quote drug war [and we know the cia has been running drugs since at least vietnam if not earlier] isnt something new. but every few years these goofy power hungry government types need to prove their importance so they inflate an already tenuous situation and spark fear in the hearts of their citizens and send in the military and we are all supposed to thank the heavens and feel safer. meanwhile the kids are going without dental care and the sewers still arent capped and the waters are increasingly polluted ... but a bunch of kids in army fatigue get their paycheques and a pat on the back and the miltiary war economy continues to prosper. at the expense of everyone, and everthing, else.

one guy we talked to on the street last night told us that there had been a shoot out right where we were standing just the other night, that the military had captured some drug runners [i guess its common between tampico and reynosa] and shot them dead. another caravanista didnt believe him, but i wouldnt be surprised. there is no justice. people are targeted and shot, their drugs taken and sold on the streets. thats what i think happens. capitalism breeds such activities.

to end this on a positive note .... you can not believe the outpouring of support from the mexican peoples. they stood on the roadsides and waved and gave us peace signs. we saw them sparingly as we drove along the highway, but as drove through tampico to the docks i felt like we were in a parade. these arent the wealthy elite, of course, theyre the victims of patriarchy and the globalized war economy who understand that cuba is doing something different. that we are doing something different. that there is a better way.

(back at the hotel now, on the slow internet, will try and upload a photo or two ...)