Peace Caravan to Cuba

Over the next two weeks, John Waller, national coordinator of Pastors for Peace, will be in our area speaking about the 18th Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba which will carry North American humanitarian aid to Cuba in July, 2007. Although Waller won’t be stopping in Nanaimo, you’ll be able to hear him in Courtenay on February 18, at Qualicum Beach on February 19, in Victoria on February 25 and 27, and at several venues around Vancouver between February 20 and March 1.

The public forum and discussion at Qualicum Beach will be at 3:30 pm on Monday, February 19, in the Multi-Purpose Room at Kwalikum Secondary School, 266 Village Way. If you are coming from Nanaimo on the inland highway, take the Qualicum Beach exit and keep right, to go towards the town. You will merge off the exit onto Memorial Drive. There is a traffic light as you approach town, with Qualicum Foods on your left and Pharmasave on the right. Go straight through the traffic light, and down the hill a bit, turn right onto Village Way. You will see the school on your right hand side a little ways up the road.

In 2005, U.S. Customs agents on the Mexican border seized 45 boxes of computers and supplies the 16th Peace Caravan was taking to Cuba for free distribution to disabled children. Ten months later, the U.S. government was forced to return the materials after Pastors for Peace threatened a Federal lawsuit. "The Bush administration's Cuba strategy is bankrupt and based on a repugnant policy to create hardship for the Cuban people” said Rev. Lucius Walker, Executive Director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), the parent organization of Pastors for Peace. “This is indeed a peoples' victory. We refused to buckle under. We refused to just go away."

The 17th Pastors for Peace Caravan in 2006 was a great success, delivering 60 tons of humanitarian aid to Cuba. In 2007, the 18th Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba will travel on 14 different routes to visit more than 120 U.S. and Canadian cities. They will travel in school buses, trucks, and cars to Cuba via Mexico with medical and educational supplies collected from groups across the U.S. and Canada as a collective challenge to the blockade and travel ban by the U.S. government against Cuba that restricts Cuba’s access to much needed supplies.

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