Humanitarian aid for Cuba denied entry into the US! Protesters occupy lot directly in front of US border, vowing
not to leave until aid let through!
unday July 1st, US customs stopped a truck full of
humanitarian aid destined for Cuba. This shipment of aid is part of
the 23rd Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba, and includes items such as
medical supplies like wheelchairs, educational supplies and sports
equipment which were collected from various cities and communities
throughout British Columbia, Canada.
The truck of aid was stopped at the West Coast Peace Arch Border
Crossing and diverted to the commercial Pacific Truck Border Crossing
with the excuse that the Caravanistas were transporting commercial
goods and needed to purchase a bond to enter the US.
scenario played out at last year's border crossing, which ended in
victory for the caravan as humanitarian aid is exempt from having to
purchase a bond.
Monday, July 2nd
Pacific Highway #15 truck border crossing
In the lot in front of the US customs office
Surrey, BC, Canada
Following the press conference Caravanistas will attempt to
cross the border with the humanitarian aid.
UPDATE: Janine Solanki reports the caravan has passed the U.S./Canada border after being refused entry. Authorities had taken exception to allowing sports equipment be brought with the rest of the humanitarian goods bound for Cuba, and had demanded a bond payment be made. Janine writes:
At the commercial crossing, supporters set up protests on both
the US and Canadian sides of the border with Cuban flags, banners and
spirited chants of "Lift the blockade on Cuba Now!" and
"Let the Aid Through!" The truck of aid was immediately
pulled aside for secondary questioning and inspection. After over four
hours of protest during the inspection, they declared that no aid
would cross without a bond, and under no circumstances would sporting
goods be allowed entry.
"Is the US really threatened by soccer
balls and used baseball gloves going to Cuba via the US?" asked
Tamara Hansen, coordinator of Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with
Cuba and Caravanists, from the US side of the protest.
The truck was escorted back to the Canada side of the border. It
is now parked directly in front of the US border, along with an
encampment of activists, Caravanistas and supporters. They have vowed
to occupy this space, 24 hours a day, until the aid is let through
without any condition.
"This is yet another blatant example of how the Obama
administration continues to tighten the over 50 year old criminal
blockade instead of seeking to normalize relations with Cuba."
said Bill Hackwell, caravan route speaker and organizer with the
International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5.
We encourage media to join the press conference and to reflect
this pressing issue.
Lift the blockade on Cuba!
Let the aid through!
Janine Solanki - Contact on Canada side - 778-881-6156
Tamara Hansen - Contact on US side - 778-882-5223
Bill Hackwell - Caravan route speaker from Oakland, US. On Canada
side - 415-269-7917
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2nd 2012