Friendshipment to Provide Aid to Cuba

June 14, 2010

From July 3-12, the 21st U.S.-Cuba Friendshipment Caravan will tour 130 cities in the U.S. and Canada before carrying humanitarian aid to Cuba.

At each stop, in addition to collecting aid from local churches, community organizations, solidarity groups, etc., the Caravan will organize various meetings and discussions to further inform the public and mobilize opinion against the devastating effects of the U.S. government's economic blockade. The Pastors for Peace, who have organized the Friendshipments every year since 1992, characterize them as a "collective challenge" to the U.S. government's policy.

The Friendshipments are an expression of the unbreakable solidarity between the American and Cuban people. They are also part of the on-going struggle of the American people to end the U.S. government's blockade.

For decades, every U.S. administration – Republican and Democratic alike – has followed an aggressive foreign policy toward Cuba which has included direct military intervention, threats of nuclear annihilation, and even assassination attempts on Fidel Castro organized by the CIA. The blockade, first enacted in 1962, imposes a total ban on all food, medicine, equipment and raw materials from the U.S. and prohibits free travel between the two countries. The embargo was further tightened by the passage of the Torricelli Act in 1992 and the Helms-Burton Act in 1996 which, in a blatant violation of the sovereignty of other states, impose sanctions against other countries that trade with Cuba. Overall, the economic blockade has resulted in untold hardship on the Cuban people, denying them medical and humanitarian supplies as well as the raw materials, energy and spare parts necessary to maintain the country's industrial base.

But despite this all-out war, the Cuban people continue to defend their independence and to build their country in accord with their own desires. The Friendshipments are one example of the American people's demand that the U.S. government end its reactionary policy and recognize the sovereign right of the Cuban people to work out their own economic, political and social organization.