Peace Caravan Resolves to Remain Upbeat Despite Menacing Treatment

By Nick Braune
Special to the Texas Civil Rights Review

On Tuesday morning, in yet another display of the militarization of the Mexico-U.S. border, about 50 border police spent two hours unloading and searching through crutches, wheelchairs and commodes from the 12 brightly painted vehicles constituting this year’s Pastors for Peace caravan.

The border agents know what is in the buses and trucks, exactly what the Pastors say is in them: humanitarian supplies being taken across the Mexican border and, from there, taken to Cuba. For goodness sakes, the group has been doing this for about two decades.

The agents spitefully ended up confiscating 12 computers. (One can see how dangerous computers might be in medical clinics and educational centers in Cuba – not.)

The Bush administration also stopped breast pumps and stethoscopes and hospital gowns from going across the Canadian border last week because they were destined for this caravan.

Reverend Lucius Walker, the executive director of their organization, said in the Pastors for Peace press release,

“We are going to allow Homeland Security a couple of weeks to reconsider their decision to seize these computers today. By then we will have returned from Cuba and our supporters around the U.S. will have contacted their elected officials to let them know about the pettiness of the U. S. government’s policies toward Cuba. And we will be prepared to mount yet another campaign to win the release of this humanitarian aid for our sisters and brothers in Cuba.”

The 130 people going over the border to move humanitarian goods to Cuba through Mexico were in great spirits in a rally on Sunday night at the Our Savior Lutheran Church in McAllen. There was a talent show put on by the participants, including an energetic and barbed song by a group of singing grandmas. They warmed the audience up for a group of young performers who put on a really spectacular hip hop performance and excellent break dancing.

At one point, the hip hop performers chanted “we don’t want to get paid, we want to break the blockade” and everyone cheered wildly.

Everyone I spoke to was very well informed on the blockade and the vicious nature of the Bush administration, and everyone was interested in the discussion about the Border Wall, (Some who had arrived early enough had made it to the Roma demonstration against the wall on Saturday.)

Several had heard about the problems with the immigrant detention centers. I spoke to one person from the United Kingdom who had taken his vacation time to join the caravan.

Although everyone I talked to was upbeat, there was also a realization that the militarizing and confrontational stance of this government (toward Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, China, Korea, Europe, Mexico, Cuba, America’s immigrants, the poor, etc.) is indeed menacing.

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