[News] Computers destined to Cuba seized at US border

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jul 17 15:57:08 EDT 2007




PRESS RELEASE
July 17, 2007, 8:30am ­
for immediate release

CONTACTS: IFCO/Pastors for Peace
McAllen:  Ellen Bernstein 646/319-5902
New York:  Lucia Bruno 212/926-5757, 347/423-4330


PASTORS FOR PEACE CUBA CARAVAN DETAINED BY HOMELAND SECURITY:
OFFICERS CURRENTLY SEARCHING VEHICLES, 'DETAINING' COMPUTERS
126 U.S. Citizens and International Activists 
Challenging Immoral U.S. Blockade of Cuba


The 18th Pastors for Peace caravan to Cuba 
approached the Pharr International Bridge at the 
Texas/Mexico border this morning at 6:30am. They 
found that the International Bridge was blocked 
off by local police.  The caravan was diverted 
into the US Customs lot, where Customs and
Border Patrol officers proceeded to X-ray and 
search the vehicles.  Nearly 50 officers spent 
nearly two hours unloading and reloading 
crutches, wheelchairs, commodes, and medical 
supplies from the vehicles.  They located and 
'detained' 12 computers from the caravan.

"This is a battle of David and Goliath ­ and 
Goliath knows that he's losing," said Rev Luis 
Barrios, member of the IFCO/Pastors for Peace 
board of directors.  "What they are taking from 
us today is purely symbolic.  They are trying to 
show us that they are in charge. But we know that we are the
ones in charge, and that the people's power will prevail."

The Pastors for Peace caravan, 12 brightly 
painted vehicles carrying 126 activists and 90 
tons of aid, plans to cross into Mexico later 
today on its way to Cuba. The caravan is a direct 
nonviolent challenge of the U.S. economic 
blockade of Cuba, which prevents the Cuban people from accessing
much-needed supplies. The caravan also challenges 
the travel blockade, which seeks to prevent U.S. 
citizens from traveling to Cuba.
Two years ago, US government officials spent a 
whole day seizing computer aid­ CPUs, modems, 
cables, and toner cartridges ­ from the 16th 
IFCO/Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba. 
IFCO/Pastors for Peace struggled for nearly a 
year to finally get that aid released.  Two weeks ago,
the Bush Administration detained medical aid for 
Cuba at the Maine-Canada border—hospital gowns, 
stethoscopes, even breast pumps ­  although they 
allowed the very same sort of aid to pass into 
the U.S. from Vancouver, Toronto, and Winnipeg. 
Demonstrations continue in Canada and
the US for the release of that aid.

"We are going to allow Homeland Security a couple 
of weeks to reconsider their decision to seize 
these computers today," said Rev Lucius Walker, 
Jr, executive director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace. 
"By then we will have returned from Cuba.  Our 
supporters around the US will have contacted their
elected officials to let them know about the 
pettiness of the US government's policies toward 
Cuba. And we will be prepared to mount yet 
another campaign to win the release of this humanitarian aid
for our sisters and brothers in Cuba."

"Our caravans are like water dropping onto a 
rock," said Rev. Diane Baker of Dallas, TX. "The 
rock may seem impenetrable, but we just keep on 
keeping on -- because the water always wins."

Pastors for Peace is a project of the 
Interreligious Foundation for Community 
Organization (IFCO), which has been working for 
social justice since 1967.  Photographs of the caravan are available at
<http://www.pastorsforpeace.org/>www.pastorsforpeace.org .



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