Pastors for Peace, which is committed to ending the U.S. embargo against Cuba, completed its 23rd visit to the communist island to challenge that policy by delivering a shipment of almost 100 tons of humanitarian aid.
The caravan, which has been organized by U.S. religious leaders since 1992, traveled to Havana from Mexico after last week crossing the U.S. southern border so that it could ship the aid it had collected to Cuba, media reports said.
The group, comprised of about 60 activists, arrived in Havana headed by Rev. Luis Barrios and Gail Walker, the daughter of the late Rev. Lucius Walter, the founder and leader of Pastors for Peace until his death in 2010.
Just as in previous years, the friendship caravan to Cuba mounted by the group, organized by the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, or IFCO, visited several Canadian provinces and dozens of U.S. cities to collect humanitarian aid of all sorts to send to the island.
The activists, according to the agenda released by the group, will visit hospitals, cultural centers, churches and other organizations "dedicated to the Cuban efforts for sustainable development."
During their stay on the island, which will last until July 31, the group will also attend a workshop on the process of "updating" Cuban socialism and will meet with the relatives of the Cuban agents convicted and imprisoned in the United States for espionage.
Last August, more than 80 activists were questioned by immigration and customs authorities in Texas after completing their 22nd caravan to Cuba to deliver humanitarian aid.
Although on that occasion authorities made no arrests, the activists made it clear that they would continue these types of activities to protest the U.S. embargo, which they call "immoral" and "counterproductive."
Havana maintains that, since it was implemented in 1962, the U.S. blockade has caused losses to Cuba amounting to $104 billion although the damage could exceed $975 billion if calculations are readjusted to account for the depreciation of the dollar's value vis-a-vis gold on the international financial market over the past half century. EFE