Seventy-Five Community Activists and Faith Leaders Arrive in Cuba to Oppose the U.S. Blockade Against the Island

Nov 15, 2021 by

On November 15th, 75 members of the U.S.-Cuba Friendshipment Caravan arrived in Havana with over 2 tons of medical aid for distribution to the Cuban people.

After a 20-month battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, the caravan participants, who hail from 25 different states, have arrived in Cuba as the island nation reopens its borders to foreign visitors.

This 31st U.S.-Cuba Friendshipment Caravan organized by the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) is a multi-generational, racially diverse, and gender-diverse caravan. Additionally, the caravanistas represent a broad section of U.S. residents and global citizens who oppose the more than 60 years of sanctions imposed by the U.S. government against Cuba. 

“We have organized this caravan to stand in opposition to the limitations that the U.S. government has imposed against our Cuban neighbors,” said Gail Walker, Executive Director of the Inter-religious Foundation for Community Organization, and leader of its Pastors for Peace project. 

“These sanctions have severely limited Cuba’s access to life-saving medicines and medical supplies,” Walker added. “This is why we have collected medical donations from communities across the country to help Cuba address the severe shortages in medical aid that is a direct result of U.S. policy toward Cuba.”

“Regardless of where one stands, no one can deny that the U.S. government’s blockade is killing the Cuban people and has been for decades,” said Reverend Dorlimar Lebron, IFCO Board Member and Pastor of The People’s Church in East Harlem, NY. 

Lebron continues, “The ramifications of the blockade are even more apparent under the pandemic. Despite the U.S. attempts to isolate Cuba through the blockade, the international community and people of conscience uphold Cuban sovereignty and liberation, demonstrated in part by this historic caravan.” 

This caravan is arriving in Cuba amidst November 15th actions that are using the Caribbean island’s reopening as an occasion to reject its self-determination and question the resilience of its people. The IFCO/Pastors for Peace caravan is focused
on friendship, community, and works to encourage elected officials to end the U.S. government’s brutal sanctions. 

“We firmly believe that it is essential to lift up the tremendous progress that Cuba has been able to achieve despite the U.S. economic blockade and a global pandemic,” said Walker. 

“We applaud Cuba’s ability to open schools and borders and we marvel at Cuba’s fight against COVID. More than 70% of its population is fully vaccinated and 95% of Cuban young people from age 2 to 18 have received one vaccine shot. This has been achieved despite the U.S. restricting access to international shipments of raw materials and medical supplies to the island through the economic blockade.”

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