Pastors for Peace Head Toward Cuba

( [email protected] ) Jul 08, 2004 02:14 PM EDT

The Pastors for Peace humanitarian organization crossed into Mexico from Texas on Wednesday, July 7, officially beginning their annual trip to deliver food, medicine and equipment to Cuba. This year, however, the trip is being made in direct civil disobedience to the government’s embargo on the communist nation – an embargo deemed necessary to put pressure on the dictator Fidel Castro. More moderate and liberal Christian and inter-religious groups such as the Pastors for Peace and the National Council of Churches have criticized the embargo.

"We feel this is a very crucial time to go because of the issues and hostilities being created between our country and other people of the world," director Lucius Walker said in a telephone interview with Reuters from the Mexican border city of Reynosa.

"We're doing civil disobedience and we're prepared to suffer the consequences."

The trip marks the 15th year in which the humanitarian arm of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization carried out the trip. This year, the group prepared a caravan of 15 vehicles with 100 tons of goods to give to the communist nation.

According to Walker, the group expected problems this year because of the new embargo, but there were no hindrances, at least for now.

"There was a lot of planned attention to us, but there was no effort to stop us, no effort to harass us," Walker said.

The group of 120 pastors will arrive in Havana on Friday, then return to the States some 10 days later. Walker said he expected trouble when they returned.

“They wouldn't stop us (today), but they'll get us when we come back," he said.