Members of the 30th Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) Pastors for Peace Friendship Caravan, who met with the faith community and activists in Cuban civil society, and learned of the people’s work first hand in several provinces across the island, reaffirmed that they will stand by Cuba until the unjust economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed by the United States, for more than half a century, is lifted.
During a press conference held at the headquarters of the Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), Gail Walker, executive director of the solidarity organization, said that they intend to make the effects of the blockade more visible in communities around the U.S. and on social media.
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Walker stressed that the extensive exchanges experienced by the delegation – which included activists in Mexico, Canada and U.S. – allowed them to gain a better understanding of Cuba’s reality, confirming the organization’s premise of respect and defense of the sovereignty, as people of faith and conscience. She insisted that, although U.S. independence, and the supposed existence of basic rights, were celebrated in the country on July 4, the government continues to violate federal laws by preventing travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens, who should have the right to independence, to defend Cuba, and demand an end to all arbitrary prohibitions.
In a statement to Granma International about the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, Walker pointed out that this is another example of how the Trump administration is far removed with the people, since everyone who is aware of the law knows that it is absurd, and does not lead anywhere, adding that this view is shared by many members of the Cuban community in South Florida.
Canadian Colin Stuart confirmed the support extended by Pastors for Peace to the sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela: "We have always stood in solidarity with Cuba, now we must do the same with Venezuela," he said.
In Cienfuegos, Caravan participants completed a full agenda of activities, which included interacting with students at the Vilma Espin school for autistic children, as well as members of Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) and the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), and visiting other sites of interest.