[News] Computers destined to Cuba seized at US border
news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jul 17 15:57:08 EDT 2007
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 borderhospital 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
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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