US blocks humanitarian aid for Cuba
The 23rd Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan stages protests on the US-Canada border.
VANCOUVER, Canada, Wednesday July 04, 2012 – United States customs authorities reportedly blocked a truck loaded with aid for Cuba, which was part of the 23rd Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan that initiated a trip through Canadian and American cities to collect donations for the people of Cuba.
The Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba said in a press release on Monday that the truck was stopped at the West Coast Peace Arch Border Crossing and diverted to the commercial Pacific Truck Border Crossing on the grounds that the organisation was transporting commercial goods and needed to purchase a bond to enter the United States.
According to the release: “At the commercial crossing, supporters set up protests on both the US and Canadian sides of the border with Cuban flags, banners and spirited chants of ‘Lift the blockade on Cuba Now!’ and ‘Let the Aid Through!’ The aid truck was immediately pulled aside for secondary questioning and inspection. After over four hours of protest during the inspection, they [the US authorities] declared that no aid would cross without a bond, and under no circumstances would sporting goods be allowed entry.”
Activists and supporters vowed to “occupy this space, 24 hours a day, until the aid is let through without any condition.”
"This is yet another blatant example of how the Obama administration continues to tighten the over 50-year-old criminal blockade instead of seeking to normalize relations with Cuba," said Bill Hackwell, caravan spokesman.
The 23rd US Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba is reportedly travelling through the United States and Canada this month to speak to the American people about the negative impact of Washington’s Cuba policy and collect material aid for the Cuban people.
According to the Pastors for Peace website, caravan members travel in school buses, trucks and cars along nine different routes, visiting 100 American and Canadian cities. At every stop they will educate people about the blockade while collecting medical supplies and equipment, educational and cultural items and other donations for Cuba.
Following this trip, the activists plan to travel to Cuba via Mexico, without requesting or accepting a US government licence, as a disciplined act of civil disobedience against the blockade and travel ban, and as ambassadors for a ‘people-to-people’ foreign policy based in mutual respect, the post indicated.
“When we return to the US, we will proudly declare our travel to Cuba and our opposition to the immoral blockade,” it added.