HAVANA TIMES, July 21 — Each time a Pastors for Peace humanitarian caravan to Cuba has attempted to cross the US-Mexican border the question has been whether the US authorities would confiscate all or part of their aid to enforce the US embargo, which took place on several occasions.
Then on Tuesday, the day before the 20th Caravan would make the border crossing, the group of over 80 caravan members was surprised by a warning from Mexican customs that for the first time they would not be allowed to enter the country with their humanitarian aid headed for Cuba.
In the end the local Mexican customs backed down after an intervention by the head office in Mexico City. The following is a letter that Pastors for Peace sent out to supporters of the caravan effort.
Urgent and threatening development in this year’s Caravan to Cuba.
Dear friends and supporters of IFCO/Pastors for Peace,
We write to you at 6am from McAllen, Texas about a very urgent and threatening development in this year’s Caravan to Cuba.
On Tuesday night, we were on the verge of calling on our friends and supporters to activate our international emergency network. For the first time in 20 years, it was indicated to us by Mexican customs that there would be a full stop to passage of our humanitarian aid through Mexico.
During a meeting on July 20th Mexican customs officials at the Pharr, Texas border crossing declared that the Caravan would effectively be stopped from completing it’s mission of love and solidarity.
The results of this decision would have been disastrous, leaving over 100 tons of humanitarian aid, nine buses and one car stuck interminably in Mexican customs.
Late last night, during a strategy session for planning an international campaign to seek the reversal of this draconian position, we received notification that the central offices of Mexican customs had relayed an order to the Pharr border officials to allow the Caravan to continue through the Mexican border as it has been the previous 20 years.
We applaud the Mexican officials for backing away from what would have been a disastrous policy regarding the Pastors for Peace Caravan and the delivery of humanitarian aid to Cuba.
In the face of these hostilities we were confident that we would have your to support to mount a strong international campaign in support of the Caravan.
Now, we ask that you place a call the office of the Mexican Ambassador to the US, Arturo Sarukhan to thank Martha Oropezev at 202-728-1640 for their intervention on our behalf.
We are writing you now at 6am on July 21st to give you the last update before we depart for the border. We are determined that the Caravan will make it to Cuba and are confident in your continued support.
While we have been struggling with the Mexican customs, we also have no indication of what we may face from US customs. This morning we face US AND Mexican customs, but we do not do it alone. We ask you to be on the alert for whatever may be necessary to ensure that the 21st Caravan arrives in Cuba with all humanitarian aid.
The work of peace and justice is hard work, we are prepared with your support to continue to certain victory.
Si se puede! We shall overcome.