Cuba caravans cover 130 cities

 DALLAS – When all the world has free and open relations with revolutionary Cuba, and when we can all go back and forth freely, we’ll owe a debt to the Pastors for Peace “caravanistas” who, every year, defy reactionary U.S. travel laws to bring gifts to the Cuban people. Participants from the 21st caravan joined local activists for dinner at First Community Church in East Dallas on July 16. They had three yellow school buses so loaded with presents that there was barely room for the travelers. It was their tenth city in ten days, but only a small part of the complicated international network of caravans following different routes that started as far away as Canada and passed through 130 cities on their way to Laredo, Texas, then to Mexico and Cuba.

 Supporters from Dallas put on a good feast for the occasion. Organizer Ernest McMillan had worked in Cuban solidarity for months. He asked for one last cash collection, which raised the final $500 needed to pay for one Texas school bus to make the trip to Cuba. All the vehicles, loaded with vital materials, make the trip one-way.

 Several caravanistas explained what they were doing. “”We are letting them know that we are human beings, standing with other human beings!” said a young man from Canada. The co-director of the sponsoring charitable corporation, Ellen Bernstein, said that her many contacts with the Cubans had inspired her to “become my better self.” She said that Cuba is a place of love, and “I aspire to have that type of love.” Bernstein said that trips to Cuba are intellectually challenging: “The Cubans have so much to teach us!” She clarified the fundamental purpose of the caravans: ‘This is absolutely about our defense of Cuba!”

Reverend Tom Smith said that the U.S. ban against traveling to Cuba was immoral. He said that border guards will ask them, as they do every time, if they have a license to go to Cuba. He answered the question, “Our license is God’s word!”

Photo: Jim Lane: Reverend Tom Smith “Our license is God’s word!”