Volunteers attempting to deliver tons of humanitarian aid and hurricane relief to Cuba were stopped at the U.S.–Mexican border Thursday. The volunteers are part of a Pastors for Peace caravan, a group which delivers shipments of humanitarian aid yearly to Latin American countries and Cuba. [includes rush transcript]
Volunteers attempting to deliver tons of humanitarian aid and hurricane relief to Cuba were stopped at the U.S.–Mexican border yesterday. The hundreds of volunteers are part of a Pastors for Peace caravan, a group which delivers shipments of humanitarian aid yearly to Latin American countries and Cuba.
The caravanistas refuse to apply for a license under the US embargo of Cuba as a matter of principle. They view the embargo as an "immoral policy" and resist complying with it.
- Rev. Lucius Walker, executive director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, he is with the caravan.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined now on the phone by Reverend Lucius Walker, who is executive director and founder of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, or IFCO. It’s parent organization of Pastors for Peace. He’s with the caravan in Hidalgo, Texas. Welcome to Democracy Now!
REV. LUCIUS WALKER: Thank you, Amy. It’s good to be with you.
AMY GOODMAN: Reverend Walker, can you talk about the latest?
REV. LUCIUS WALKER: We yesterday approached the border in Hidalgo to cross the bridge into Reynosa, and we were greeted, not by OFAC, which is the enforcement agency we have dealt with for 14 years now, but we were greeted by enforcement officers from the U.S. Commerce Department, who informed us that no computers would be allowed to cross the border. We proceeded to test their new strategy, or at least it’s an old strategy that’s being used again. Remember, 400 computers had been seized in 1996, and we secured the release of those after a 94-day fast. But we tested this new resolve by sending two of our 11 vehicles and all the computers on those vehicles were seized. Now after that we turned to a compound which had been provided for us by the local police, and we offloaded all of the computers onto one vehicle. The remaining vehicles without computers but with millions of dollars worth of humanitarian aid, probably about 150 tons of aid, did cross the border between 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Hidalgo time, Texas time.
AMY GOODMAN: Reverend Lucius Walker, we have to leave it there, but we will certainly update our listeners and viewers on Monday on latest situation of Pastors for Peace, speaking to Reverend Walker on the border in Hidalgo, Texas.