T.H. TRIBUNE-STAR: Pastors for Peace caravan to visit TH congregation on Sunday
- TERRA HAUTE TRIBUNE STAR
News From Terre Haute, Indiana
July 9, 2011
Pastors for Peace caravan to visit TH congregation on Sunday
TERRE HAUTE — First Unitarian Universalist Congregation at 1875 S. Fruitridge Ave. will host the 22nd Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba on Sunday.
Veteran caravan traveler Lisa Valanti will speak at 1:30 p.m. about the need to end the embargo on Cuba and about recent developments in Congress with regard to Cuba.
The Obama administration announced in January that it was going to reduce restrictions on travel to Cuba and make it easier for certain groups to get a license to go to Cuba. The group believes these changes, and changes President Obama made in 2009, could be reversed by a bill introduced in Congress by Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida. The bill, passed by voice vote in the House Appropriations Committee on June 23, rescinds changes made in 2009 to Cuban-American family travel and remittances regulations, according to a release issued by First Unitarian Universalist Congregation.
Valanti, a specialist in Cuban foreign policy, has been traveling to Cuba since 1971 and has led more than 100 trips to Cuba.
She participated in a 1993 hunger strike and then the 1996 90-day Fast for Life to get all the caravan’s computers released at the border to go to Cuba.
Valanti’s talk will be preceded by a new half-hour film, “The Day Diplomacy Died,” by Irish filmmaker Bernie Dwyer. The film interviews officials in both Cuba and the United States with regard to the so-called dissidents Cuba released last fall, which has been a bone of contention between the two countries.
The organizer for the Caravan is the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization based in New York. Pastors for Peace is one of its projects. This year’s caravan is dedicated to its founder, Lucius Walker, a Baptist minister from Brooklyn who died in September 2010.
Under the embargo, U.S. corporations are not allowed to trade with Cuba, and under the Helms-Burton Act, this includes food and medicine, the news release stated.
As an act of civil disobedience, Pastors for Peace never gets a license to go to Cuba. Pastors for Peace believes that it is a violation of church-state relations for the state to be telling religious organizations (through licensing) who they can assist with charity.
Pastors for Peace will be stopping in 130 cities in Canada and the United States along 13 different routes collecting more than 100 tons of aid in the form of medical supplies, construction and plumbing tools and materials. The local UU host has been collecting plumbing fittings to stop water leaks to send with the caravan.
Los Angeles, California
"Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"