The 48th contingent of the United States-Cuba Friendship Caravan, organized by Pastors for Peace, arrived in Havana yesterday to deliver a symbolic donation of important drugs and medical supplies, as well as demand the end of the “economic, political, and cultural embargo.”
The group traveled through 50 cities in the United States to do solidarity work and speak on the realities of the ongoing embargo, promoting the normalization of relations between the two countries.
The most recent caravan has traveled in the context of a renewed wave of U.S. aggression toward Cuba, as the new administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has rolled back several gains made in recent years toward normalization, and has heightened anti-Cuba rhetoric.
On Friday the visiting group, mostly from the United States, is paying tribute in Havana to the founder of Pastors for Peace, Reverend Lucius Walker. Reverend Walker, who died in 2010 is considered by many in both Cuba and in the United States to be a tireless fighter in defense of Cuba's revolution and against U.S. aggression.
His daughter, Gail Walker, is currently the director of the organization, and carries forward its original vision.
“Inside the United States, a campaign still persists whose purpose is to undermine Cuba and its revolutionary principles. Pastors for Peace has always embraced the commitment of Cuban leaders to put the welfare of their people first. That’s why we continue … calling upon the U. S. government to end its efforts towards regime change," she said in an interview with Cuba Debate.
Walker founded the organization as a project of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, and was inspired by what he saw as anti-imperialist struggles in Latin America. The project focused on solidarity efforts with Cuba beginning in 1992, sending regular caravans to the Island.
They have consistently defied the travel ban on U.S. citizens to perform their work.
When Walker died, the official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party, Granma, ran an announcement declaring “we do not want to think of a world without Lucius Walker.”
His final resting place is in Havana, and he is honored by a plaque at the Jose Marti Anti-Imperialist Tribune across from the U.S. Embassy in Havana.