[act-ma] 6/19 Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba in JP
cwelch at tecschange.org
Sat Jun 15 08:06:51 PDT 2019
As Pastors for Peace/IFCO says in their statement below
*This new Blockade makes IFCO's work in support of even more critical.*
Your support is needed! (AND TIMELY!)
The July 26th Coalition Of Boston is hosting
The Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan
Wednesday, June 19, 2019, 7:30 pm
First Baptist Church Of Jamaica Plain
633 Center Street
Executive Director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace,
“The Case for Ending the US Blockade Against Cuba”
Rachel Domond, PSL Boston, on
“The recent Boston Urban Farmers delegation to Cuba”
Lee Schlenker, Witness for Peace New England,
“Recently Returned: Update on Venezuela”
Facebook Event <https://www.facebook.com/events/292633434994214/>
ifconews.org <https://ifconews.org/cuba-caravan2018/> — july26.org
<https://july26.org/> — solidaritycollective.org
*This new Blockade makes IFCO's work even more critical.*
Your support is needed! (AND TIMELY!)
Trump’s new travel restrictions:
IFCO says, Don’t Mourn, Organize!
On Tuesday 4th June the US Treasury announced new regulations governing
licensed travel to Cuba from the US. At the core of the announcement was
the news that US cruise ships could no longer go to Cuba, effective
immediately, and that the most popular category of licensed group travel
– People to People – would also be scrapped, except that travel bookings
that were already confirmed could still go ahead.
The aim of these measures is to do the maximum possible damage to the
Cuban economy. They are in line with the dominant strategy towards Cuba
that US governments have followed since 1961 – to grind down the Cuban
people, “starve” them, in the belief that eventually they will rise up
against their own government. It is a strategy that has always failed,
as Obama recognized, but the economic damage it does is real.
Many in the media have stated that Trump’s policy will badly hurt all
the Cubans who cater for US tourists by providing private accommodation,
food in private restaurants, taxi services etc. That is true but it is
not the whole truth. There are many Cubans for instance who work in the
State run tourist sector whose income from wages and tips depends on
tourism. But digging deeper – ALL Cubans stand to lose from the drop in
tourism because the foreign exchange generated by tourism is what the
Cuban government uses to purchase goods from abroad such as the food and
medicines that the country isn’t able to produce itself.
We should be outraged by what Trump is doing, but we need to turn that
outrage into action. Trump doesn’t want us to travel to Cuba, so we need
to travel to Cuba. He is putting obstacles in the way, so we have to
overcome the obstacles. Make 2019/2020 the year you go to Cuba. IFCO
will be going – come with us!
US citizens with family in Cuba remain free to go. All the 12 categories
of licensed travel to Cuba remain in place such as religious travel,
academic and student travel, “support for the Cuban people” travel. The
most general and popular sub-category of educational travel - People to
People - has gone but the whole US travel industry that sends people to
Cuba will be working to offer group packages under other licenses. We at
IFCO are already discussing how we can best continue to offer licensed
delegations to Cuba.
Despite what Trump has just done it is still easier to travel to Cuba
than it was under Clinton, Bush and the first 6 years of the Obama
But Trump’s attack highlights the validity of what IFCO has been saying
since 1992 - that Licensed Travel is not the real solution. What one
president allows, the next president can, and does, take away. US
citizens can travel to any other country in the world, the rest of the
world can travel freely to Cuba. All restrictions on travel to Cuba need
to be eliminated and that requires an Act of Congress.
Such a one paragraph bill was introduced in both houses in the 2017-18
Congress. The bipartisan bill in the Senate had 55 signatories – a
majority – but the Republican leadership would not allow a vote. Similar
bills are soon to be introduced in the current 2019-20 Congress. We
understand fully the immense difficulty in getting such a bill passed in
this Congress, and Trump of course has veto powers. But compared to the
situation in Congress when we first started our Caravans to Cuba in
1992, a lot of progress has been made by the US solidarity movement, and
we have to keep pushing towards the goal. “Stay tuned” for specific ways
you can help.
This Saturday in New York we will have the launch of our 30th,
unlicensed, Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba. We will be visiting 40 US
cities over a 10 day period. Details can be found on our website. If we
are visiting your city come to our public event to learn about what is
happening in Cuba today – the hardships and the achievements. And what
we can do to fight back against Trump.
We will be taking 37 people to Cuba on the Caravan. In the big economic
picture of US visitors it is tiny. But our Cuban partners don’t see us
as tiny, they see us as immense, because we proudly raise the banner of
complete freedom to travel to Cuba.
Will you be coming with us on next year’s caravan, or in a delegation
we can end the US blockade of Cuba
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