Pastors for Peace and Cuba: Political Propaganda Disguised as Humanitarianism
Nothing in Pastors for Peace’s work has been for free, an organization which portrays itself as being charitable and humanitarian but is nothing more than an instrument belonging to the Cuban government in reality.
By Alejandro Armengol (Cubaencuentro)
HAVANA TIMES – Once again, Pastors for Peace have gone on their Caravan to Cuba. They have done this 30 times before, ever since 1992. More than a humanitarian mission, the propaganda organization has a very clear objective: to seek out new followers and disseminate an idyllic image of the Cuban regime.
Its members arrived in Havana after a tour of different US cities (46 this time), during which they asked for humanitarian aid and medicines for Cubans.
Ever since its creation, organization members have walked a very fine line which, in a different country, or at a different time, could have been very dangerous; however, it’s just become a simple stroll for them now.
They have never asked the US government for authorization to travel to Cuba, and while the group’s name intends to make its vocation for peace and harmony clear, they always make sure to stress the fines and possible arrests that have never manifested. Although the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has sanctioned them for violating trade laws with the enemy.
So, between civil disobedience and solidarity with the poor, Pastors for Peace is a group which tries to at least make their fraternal attitude known, as well as their rejection of the US embargo.
This would all be fine and dandy if said vocation wasn’t linked to another: a suspicious reverent attitude that goes beyond respect, a notorious interest in rubbing shoulders with those who rule in Cuba and an unfortunate fondness to serve the Cuban government’s propaganda purposes.
After donations and a propaganda campaign in US and Canadian cities, which declines every year (in 2014, they only traveled to 65 cities, while they went to as many as 120 in 2011), there is a maneuver which is upheld as a display of their durability, even if they have lost reach and resonance.
From the time of the group’s founder (late Reverend Lucius Walker), nothing has been for free in an organization which portrays itself as being charitable and humanitarian. Not even the month of their Caravan, which has also served at times for them to take part in Cuba’s July 26th celebrations.
But, there’s more to the story.
Reverend Walker was a good example of a man who used religion to become an accomplice of totalitarianism.
In 2011, a US Department of State cable was discovered, in which Walker threatened to cancel academic grants for every US medicine student in Havana who reached out to the US Embassy on the island.
The cable (one of hundreds of thousands published by Wikileaks) assures us that the pastor made this threat the day before one of these students was to go to a US citizens meeting, who act as voluntary activists across the world, to get in touch with others suffering emergency situations, such as hurricanes.
This took place in 2007 and it wasn’t anything new, there wasn’t even a conspiracy involved or anti-Cuban activity against the meeting’s objectives. US embassies organize similar networks the world over.
That’s to say, in Pastor Walker’s eyes, there were “good” and “bad” humanitarian acts. He not only considered himself an agent of “good actions”, but also a guardian to stop “bad actions”. Although his actions could also be considered the actions of one of Castro’s henchmen.
Pastors for Peace have always done everything they can to transform an alleged humanitarian mission into something political. Today, their work doesn’t have much of an impact, but the religious habit is still there, even though this doesn’t make the monk.
Real humanitarian aid is currently provided (every day, silently and by the millions) by the exile community who send foreign currency and all kinds of items to the island. But they mustn’t be all that interested in receiving a letter signed by Fidel Castro, like Walker had, or in being welcomed by Diaz-Canel, like these propagandists under the guise of “missionaries” just were.
Here we republish an article from the official Prensa Latina News Agency on this year’s visit of the Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba:
Cuban President Welcomes Pastors for Peace Caravan
By Prensa Latina
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel received members of the 30th edition of the United States-Cuba Friendship Caravan, organized by the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, IFCO-Pastors for Peace.
This group -made up of 34 people from the United States, Canada and Mexico- is headed by Gail Walker, daughter of the Reverend Lucius Walker (1930-2010).
At the meeting, the Cuban leader expressed Cuban people’s gratitude for the valuable work of solidarity carried out by Pastors for Peace, which represent the noblest feelings of the American people.
The visitors expressed their willingness to continue organizing these caravans of love and friendship in support of the largest of the Antilles, underlined the prime news broadcast of National Television News on Tuesday.
17 thoughts on “Pastors for Peace and Cuba: Political Propaganda Disguised as Humanitarianism”
I was on the 1995 Pastors for Peace Caravan; I was part of the Seattle Delegation and we donated a School Bus full of Medical Equipment! I did not consider myself a part of a “Propaganda Operation” and the equipment was mainly symbolic! At least that was not my intention!
With your article I Look at it through a wider lens than you possibly do.
Starving Countries into submission, Bombing Countries into Submission(Libya one of many examples, now a major Slave trade state!); does this qualify as evil or this is ok? Did Cuba, Iran, “N” Korea, etc..do this?
Lies of immigrants in Miami? You are wrong, there are 2.5 millions of Cubans on every single country in the world.
When a country with barely 11 millions of habitants has 2.5 millions living far away, should be a powerful reason.
Communism is to not the worse part of the Cuban regime, is the way the people is treated like slaves, starving and without rights to speak freely like you do here in the United States of America.
No, the correct word is embargo.
There is no blockade against Cuba. Read the facts: United States is the first provider of food to Cuba.
United States authorized 2 billions US Dollars for Cuban regime to buy food, medicines, medical equipment and many other merchandise.
You are right my friend.
The strongest supporters of “Castrismo” are those who never lived under it!
Are you suggesting Silvia A Brandon-Perez that those Cubans who risked their lives on rafts and other small vessels (many of them dying in their endeavors) found life in the United States (not all are in Miami) even worse than that from that in Cuba from which they fled?
I am not able to support or deny your own view of the US where you live, but I can say I would not choose to live in there.
How highly do you value your freedom and right to openly criticize your government?
Only a fool could deny that racism is even worse in the US than in Cuba, and nobody can deny that the US has the highest officially recorded level of incarceration in the world, as the figures for China and its compulsory re-education schools for children and encampments for adults (the children being separated from their parents and families) are unavailable. Yes, the US has obvious faults, but the consequences of the totalitarian rule in Cuba exceed them. You may have read the recent article here in HT about the aged homeless in Cuba.
So all of you would rather be in the United States where people live in the streets without food or shelter, where people die because they can’t afford medical treatment or medication, where we imprison more people than any other country in the world.
You have come under the lure and the lies of the immigrants in Miami.
Emily, time to look up your dictionary to understand the difference between an embargo and a blockade. The US actually did have a blockade against Cuba at the time of the nuclear crises, but lifted it when Khrushchev removed the nuclear weapons that Fidel Castro had actually urged him to use in a first nuclear strike upon the US.
Secondly Emily, have you ever read the US Cuban Democracy Act approved by the US Congress, which led to the embargo. If so, do you agree with its purpose without necessarily supporting its implementation?
For your interest, I have constantly opposed the embargo, because it has been used for almost sixty years by the Castro regime as an excuse for all its political mismanagement and failures.
The economic mess in Cuba is a consequence of communist policies.
Mr MacD, I’m afraid your comment makes no sense. At least not to me.
I said that this Pastors for Peace movement does not belong to the Cuban Government as is stated in the article.
You wish to refute this?
Are you saying that this movement does belong to the Cuban Government?
I think you would have considerable difficulty trying substanciate that as a fact.
It is not an embargo it is Blockade that the US has had for years against Cuba!!!!!
I happen to have a experience with this group. I wanted to get involved to help my Cuban people I was born there and I had moved away from Miami but never felt right with the group’s there. So I saw Facebook post from Minnesota Cuba committee they are against the embrago and give back Guantanamo all which I agree with. They are part of the pastor’s for peace network and do work with that organization. So I decided to go to the meetings they were nice to me and welcoming but none were Cuban only one was Latino the others I would describe as older leftist hippies mostly white. They seem to love the culture the people. But I noticed they never spoke negatively whether in the meetings or Facebook post about the government. So I would post comments on Facebook as a i started to notice they where Communist sympathenizers. They blocked me on Facebook after a few months I never went back to the meetings or complaint about been blocked because they are no different than the communist dictorship!!!
so what is beautiful about Pastors for Peace Manuel?
Beauty and many other things is in the eyes of the beholder.
Getting facts straight is counter to communist practice, which promotes dis-information, distortion and deceit. As you recently illustrated Nick, you dispute straight facts when they don’t adhere to your pink shaded view – talk of “semi-facts” is nonsensical and distortion. The White House obviously is not alone!
I’m not a religious man myself. When it comes to the mysteries of life and existence, I tend to prefer natural explanations rather than supernatural ones.
That said, I do find this to be a somewhat curmudgeonly and cynical article.
It also has factual inaccuracies.
This movement belongs to the Cuban Government ???
Not a chance.
Critics of Cuba’s governance quite legitimately accuse its leaders of being, let’s say, economical with the truth.
It would therefore be a wise move if these very same critics could get their own facts straight.
If they could manage this on anything approaching a regular basis, perhaps their criticisms would carry more weight……
He is however correct in calling Pastors for Peace black. There is nothing idyllic about Cuba’s totalitarian communist dictatorship and Pastors for Peace is a collection of fellow travelers – hence the puppet President Diaz-Canel welcoming them – obviously he has nothing better to do. The article is accurate, but fellow-travelers in sympathy with their communist allies dislike the truth being explained.
This is a sorry article indeed. And the author, complaining about sycophancy of Pastor’s for Peace is oblivious that he is the pot calling the kettle black.
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