[act-ma] 6/19 Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba in JP

Charlie Welch 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


Gail Walker,

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 
in 2019-20?

Let's talk!
we can end the US blockade of Cuba

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