Category Archives: Cuba

Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr. | Aug 3, 1930 – Sept 7, 2010

IFCO / Pastors for Peace

Dear Friends,

Thank you for all of the expressions of love and solidarity.

Funeral services for Rev. Lucius Walker Jr. will be held at 10:00 am on Friday, September 17, 2010 at Convent Avenue Baptist Church in New York City. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to IFCO or Salvation Baptist Church and sent to IFCO, 418 W. 145th St. New York, NY 10031 or via the IFCO website.

Convent Avenue Baptist Church is located at 420 W 145th Street | New York, N.Y. 10031 Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under American Progressive Politics, Black Politics, Cuba, Friends & Comrades, Historic Black Politics & Figures, Human Rights, Latin America and The Caribbean, PASSINGS | HOME-GOING, The Latin Connection, Work of Comrades

Pastors for Peace Caravan to visit Columbia, SC

Pastors for Peace will visit Columbia on July 13th, 2010, 5:00 pm at Benedict College’s Office of International Programs
2318 Haskell Avenue

Pastors for Peace will visit Columbia on their way to Cuba to deliver medical and other material aid. Pastors for Peace is a project of the award -winning Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO).

The primary speaker will be Rev. Luis Barrios,Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology and ethnic studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice-City University of New York. Since 1988, Dr. Barrios is a weekly columnist of El Diario La Prensa in New York City, one of the oldest Spanish newspapers in the United States.  Rev. Barrios is the associate priest at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in West Harlem and the spiritual advisor for the Iglesia San Romero de Las Americas-UCC in the Washington Heights community. He is an active member of the IFCO-Pastor for Peace Board of Directors and was heavily involved in the 2005 campaign to free the computers seized at the border. He has since participated as a speaker in several caravans to Cuba.

He is a passionate exponent of the use of non-violent civil disobedience to challenge unjust laws and policies. In 2009 he spent several months in jail for his participation in a protest about training in torture methods at the US military’s “School of the Americas” in Fort Benning, Georgia


A Very Brief History

In 1988, a regularly scheduled passenger ferryboat in Nicaragua was brutally attacked by contra forces recruited and armed by the US government. An IFCO study delegation was on that ferry, along with 200 Nicaraguan civilians. Two were killed and 29 were wounded in the attack – including IFCO Executive Director Rev. Lucius Walker. In response to that brutal act of terrorism, IFCO formed a new project – Pastors for Peace. The aims of the project are twofold: to deliver material aid to support the victims of so-called “low intensity” war in Latin America and to initiate education and advocacy projects to campaign for a more just and moral US foreign policy in our hemisphere.

An Overview 

Pastors for Peace offers concerned US citizens an opportunity to demonstrate and enact an alternative foreign policy based in justice and mutual respect. More than 50 Pastors for Peace Caravans have traveled to Mexico, Central America and Cuba – delivering life-giving aid, and organizing at home for a more just policy toward our neighbors in the hemisphere.

Each caravan is an endeavor of love rooted in social justice. It’s a huge project linking people, vehicles and humanitarian aid. Caravans travel on different routes throughout the US and Canada from north to south, ending up together at the Texas border with Mexico, and then moving ahead to their destination country.

Our largest caravan – to Cuba – has 14 separate routes. Often our vehicles are brightly painted school buses, but we also donate trucks, ambulances, mobile libraries, and cars.

As we travel through the US and Canada over a 1-2 week period, we make many pre-arranged stops in cities and communities. There, we talk in public outreach events about what is happening in the country we are going to and the purpose of our trip.

We also participate in press conferences and media interviews. We usually stay in the homes of local volunteers from organizations that arranged the public event – usually churches, solidarity committees or peace and justice centers. At many stops we pick up new caravanistas or aid that has already been collected and packed by the host organization.

The humanitarian aid we take is principally medical and educational supplies and equipment, but also computers, bicycles, tools, and sports and cultural equipment. Some of the vehicles we use to transport the aid are themselves donated in the destination country.

When we reach the US border we are joined by more caravanistas and we spend three days at Orientation. This is a time for packing and manifesting the aid, some preparatory learning about the country we are going to, and discussion about how to handle any obstacles that US or Mexican Customs may put in our way.

Once we successfully cross the border, we travel on to our destination country where we spend an intense 8-10 days. We visit social and community projects and meet with the local people, learning about their lives, struggles and achievements, and also about the impact of US government policy on their lives. The aid is distributed by our local religious and community partners according to their judgment of need.

We then return together to Texas. From there caravanistas make their different ways home – inspired to report back to their friends, colleagues, congregations and communities about what they have witnessed – and inspired to continue to work in solidarity with the peoples of that country. *  (803) 875-0392  (803) 875-0392 *
PO Box 7933
Columbia, SC 29202
United States

Leave a comment

Filed under Actions, Actions | Events, American Progressive Politics, Central and South America, Cuba, Human Rights, Latin America and The Caribbean, Obama Administration, Protest, Special Events, The Latin Connection, white supremacy, Work of Comrades

Fidel Castro Ruz | Hopefully I am mistaken!

Reflections of Fidel
August 24, 2009

FidelI read with astonishment weekend news agency reports on the internal politics of the United States, where a systematic debilitation of President Barack Obama’s influence is evident. His surprising electoral victory would not have been possible without the profound political and economic crisis of that country. American soldiers killed or wounded in Iraq, the scandal of torture and secret prisons, the loss of homes and jobs, had shaken U.S. society. The economic crisis was extending throughout the world, increasing poverty and hunger in Third World nations.

Those circumstances made possible Obama’s nomination and subsequent election within a traditionally racist society. No less than 90% of the African-American population, discriminated against and poor, the majority of voters of Latin American origin and a broad middle and working class white minority, particularly young people, voted for him.

It was logical that many hopes would be aroused among U.S. citizens who supported him. After eight years of adventurism, demagogy and lies during which thousands of U.S. soldiers and close to one million Iraqis died in a war of conquest for the oil of that Muslim country, which had nothing to do with the atrocious attack on the Twin Towers, the people of the United States were weary and ashamed.

Many people in Africa and other parts of the world were enthused with the idea that there would be changes in U.S. foreign policy.

However, an elemental knowledge of reality should have sufficed for not falling into illusions in relation to a possible political change in the United States on the basis of the election of a new president.

Obama had certainly opposed the Bush war in Iraq before many others in the U.S. Congress. He knew from his own adolescence the humiliations of racial discrimination and, like many Americans, admired the great civil rights fighter, Martin Luther King.

Obama was born, educated, went into politics and was successful within the imperial capitalist system of the United States. He did not wish to nor could he change the system. The strange thing is, in spite of that, that the extreme right hates him for being an African American and is fighting against what the president is doing to improve the deteriorated image of that country.

He has been capable of understanding that the United States, with barely 4% of the world population, consumes approximately 25% of fossil energy and emits the greatest volume of the world’s contaminating gases.

Bush, in his ravings, did not even subscribe to the Kyoto Protocol.

In his turn, Obama proposes to apply tighter regulations in the context of tax evasion. He has announced, for example, that out of the 52,000 accounts held by U.S. citizens in Swiss banks, these banks are to provide information on approximately 4,500 suspected of tax evasion.

In Europe, a few weeks ago, Obama committed himself before the G-8 countries, especially France and Germany, to bring to an end his country’s use of tax havens in order to inject vast quantities of U.S. dollars into the world economy.

He has offered health services to almost 50 million citizens who lacked medical insurance.

He has promised the people of the United States to lubricate the productive apparatus, halt growing unemployment and restore growth.

He has informed12 million Hispanic illegal immigrants that he will put a stop to the cruel raids and the inhuman treatment to which they are subject.

There were other promises that I am not enumerating, not one of which questions the system of imperialist capitalist dominion.

The powerful ultra-right is not resigned to any measure whatsoever that diminishes its prerogatives to the most minimum degree.

I shall confine myself just to referring textually to information coming from the United States that has been arriving in the last few days, taken from news agencies and the U.S. press.

August 21:

“Americans’ confidence in the leadership of President Barack Obama has fallen sharply, according to a survey published today in The Washington Post.”

“In the midst of growing opposition to health system reforms, the telephone survey undertaken jointly with the ABC TV network from Aug 13 to 17 of 1, 001 adults, reveals that… forty-nine percent now say they think he will be able to spearhead significant improvements in the system, down nearly 20 percentage points from before he took office.”

“Fifty-five percent see things as pretty seriously on the wrong track, up from 48 percent in April.”

“The heated debate on healthcare reform in the United States is showing signs of an extremism that is worrying experts, alarmed at the presence of armed men at public meetings, paintings of swastikas and images of Hitler.”

“Experts in hate crimes recommend closely watching these extremists, and while many Democrats have been overwhelmed by the protests, others have opted for directly facing their co-citizens.”

“A young woman carrying a manipulated photo of Obama with a Hitler-style mustache is feeding the theory that the leader is to create ‘death panels’ that would back euthanasia for elderly people with terminal illnesses…”

“Some people are turning a deaf ear and opting for hate messages and extremism, which former FBI agent Brad Garrett is observing with alarm.”

“It’s certainly a scary time,” Garrett told ABC last week, adding that the secret services ‘really do fear that something could happen to Obama.’”

“Without going any further, on Monday, around 12 people airily displayed their weapons outside the Phoenix Convention Center (Arizona), where Obama was making a speech to war veterans, defending, among other things, his medical reforms.”

“Another man was carrying a pistol and a sign saying ‘It is Time to Water the Tree of Liberty,” a reference to Thomas Jefferson’s quote that “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

“Some messages have been even more explicit, wishing for ‘Death to Obama, Michelle and his… daughters.’”

“Those incidents demonstrate that hatred has erupted into U.S. politics with more strength than ever.”

“’We are talking about people who are shouting, who are carrying photos of Obama characterizing him as a Nazi… and who are using the term socialist contemptuously,” EFE was informed by Larry Berman (University of California, author of 12 books on the U.S. Presidency), who attributes part of what is taking place to the latent legacy of racism.”

“After The New York Times reported yesterday that, in 2004, the CIA hired Blackwater for planning, training and surveillance tasks, in today’s edition the daily provides more details on the activities assigned to that controversial private security company whose current name is Xe.”

“The daily noted that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency recruited Blackwater agents to plant explosive devices in drone aircraft with the objective of killing Al Qaeda leaders.”

“According to information given by government officials to The New York Times, the operations were carried out in bases located in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the private company assembled and loaded Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs.”

“The agency’s current director, Leon Panetta, canceled the program and notified Congress of its existence in an emergency meeting in June.”

“Blackwater’s work on the program actually ended years before Mr. Panetta took over the agency, after senior C.I.A. officials themselves questioned the wisdom of using outsiders in a targeted killing program.”

“Blackwater was the central private security company responsible for protecting U.S. personnel in Iraq during the George W. Bush administration.”

“Its aggressive tactics were criticized on a number of occasions. The gravest case occurred in September 2007, when company agents killed 17 Iraqi civilians.”

“Faced by record suicide figures and the wave of depression among soldiers, the U.S. army is gradually training specialized formations aimed at making its troops ‘more resistant’ to emotional stress related to war situations.”

August 22:

“U.S. President Barack Obama today launched harsh criticisms of those opposed to his plan to reform the country’s health system and accused them of circulating lies and distortions.”

“As he has noted in his speeches, the objective of the reform of the medical care system is to halt its spiraling cost and to guarantee medical coverage to close to 50 million Americans who lack insurance.”

“…’should be honest debate, not dominated by falsehoods and intentional distortions circulated by those who would most benefit from things being maintained as they are.’”

“The U.S. State Department is still financing Blackwater, the private company of mercenaries involved in the murder of Al Qaeda leaders and which is now called Xe Services, according to today’s New York Times.”

“David Patterson, governor of New York state, stated on Friday that the media has utilized racial stereotypes in its coverage of African-American officials, like himself, President Barack Obama and the governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick.”

“The White House calculates that the budget deficit over the next 10 years will be $2 trillion more than recent forecasts, a devastating blow for President Barack Obama and his plans for creating a public health system funded to a large extent by the state.”

“Ten-year forecasts are seen as highly volatile and could vary with time. However, the new red figures in public finances are going to pose difficult problems for Obama in Congress, and enormous anxiety among foreigners who are financing the U.S. public debt, especially China. Almost all economists consider them unsustainable, even with a massive devaluation of the U.S. dollar.”

August 23:

“The U.S. army joint chief of staff stated on Sunday that he was concerned at the loss of popular support in his country for the war in Afghanistan, while he stated that that country still remains vulnerable to extremist attacks.”

“”I think it is serious and it is deteriorating, and I’ve said that over the past couple of years – that the Taliban insurgency has gotten better, more sophisticated, in their tactics,” said Admiral Mike Mullen.”

“In an interview broadcast on NBC, Mullen declined to specify whether it was necessary to send in more troops.”

“A little over 50% of people consulted in a recently published Washington Post-ABC survey, stated that the war in Afghanistan is not worth it.”

“At the end of 2009, the United States will have three times more soldiers in Afghanistan than the 20,000 deployed there three years ago.”

Confusion reigns in the heart of U.S. society.

Next September 11 is the eighth anniversary of the fateful 9/11. That day we warned in an event in the Ciudad Deportiva [Havana] that war would not be the way to put an end to terrorism.

The strategy of withdrawing troops from Iraq and sending them to the Afghanistan war to fight against the Taliban, is an error. The Soviet Union sunk there. The European allies of the United States will steadily put up more resistance to shedding the blood of their soldiers there.

Mullen’s concern over the popularity of that war is not unfounded. Those who plotted the September 11, 2001 attack on the Twin Towers were trained by the United States.

The Taliban is an Afghani nationalist movement that had nothing to do with that event. The Al Qaeda organization, financed by the CIA from 1979 and utilized against the USSR in the Cold War years, was the group that plotted that attack 22 years later.

There are shady events that have not as yet been sufficiently clarified before world public opinion.

Obama has inherited those problems from Bush.

I do not harbor the slightest doubt that the racist right will do everything possible to wear him down, blocking his program to get him out of the game in one way or another, at the least possible political cost.

Hopefully I am mistaken!

Leave a comment

Filed under American Politics, Cuba, Latin America and The Caribbean

Robert Franklin Williams | LET IT BURN – The Coming Destruction of the USA?

 Robert Williams Radio Free DixieRobert Franklin Williams (February 26, 1925 – October 15, 1996), advocate of armed self-defense in the Civil Rights Movement, hunted by the FBI since fleeing Monroe, North Carolina in 1961, after years in exile in Cuba and China, is interviewed by Robert Carl Cohen in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in 1968. 

Black CrusaderBLACK CRUSADER – 2008 Illustrated Edition, (498 Pages, B&W Photos, is now available from

Leave a comment

Filed under American History, American Politics, American Progressive Politics, Black Politics, Books | Book Reviews, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, Cuba, Historic Black Politics & Figures, racism, white supremacy

“We are the ones to blame” | Cuba National Baseball Team’s loss in 2009 World Baseball Classic

Reflections of Comrade Fidel

Fidel Castro Ruz
March 19, 2009

[Cuba had reached the final of the last 50 tournaments in which it has played, dating back five decades, according to baseball historian Peter C. Bjarkman. But after the March 18, 2009  5-0 loss to Japan, Cuba was eliminated from the World Baseball Classic in the second round, its earliest exit since the 1959 Pan American Games.]

Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro

In the game that finished today at almost 3 in the morning between the teams from Japan and Cuba, we were unquestionably defeated.

The organizers of the Classic decided that the three countries in the first three spots of world baseball shall play it out in San Diego, including Cuba arbitrarily in the Asian group despite the fact that we are definitely in the Caribbean.

However, I doubt that any team from the West can defeat Japan and Korea in the group of competitors who will be playing in Los Angeles in the next three days.  Only one of the two Asian countries with its quality shall decide who will take the first and second spots in the Classic.

What was important for the organizers was to eliminate Cuba, a revolutionary country that has heroically resisted and has not been able to be defeated in the battle of ideas.  Nevertheless, one day we shall again be a dominant power in that sport.

The excellent team representing us in the Classic, made up mostly of young athletes, is without a doubt a genuine representation of the best athletes in our country.

They competed with great courage; they didn’t lose heart and they aimed for victory right up to the last inning.

The line-up, suggested from Cuba by the management and their expert advisors, was good and inspired confidence.  It was strong both offensively and defensively.  They had a good reserve of pitching talent and strong hitters, in case the changing circumstances of a game would require it.   By applying the same concepts, they won and dominated the powerful Mexican team.

2009 Cuban National Baseball Team

2009 Cuban National Baseball Team

I should point out that the leadership of the team in San Diego was very poor.  The old criteria of timeworn methods prevailed, against a capable adversary who constantly innovated.

We must learn the relevant lessons.

Baseball today, among all the sports, is the most capable of originating expectations because of the enormous variety of situations that might arise and the specific part played by each of the men on the diamond.  It has a reputation everywhere as a truly exciting show.  Even though the stadiums fill up with fans, there is nothing that compares to the pictures captured by the cameras.  It seems to have been created so that baseball can be transmitted by that media.

Television heightens interest by going into great detail about every action.  It even offers the possibility of seeing the stitching and the rotation of a ball thrown at 100 miles an hour, a ball rolling along a white line or it being caught in the glove of a defender one tenth of a second before or after the runner’s foot touches base. I can think of no other sport which can compete with that variety of situations, except chess, where the activity ceases to be muscular and becomes an intellectual one, something impossible to televise.

In Cuba, where we practice almost all sports and where we have numerous amateur players, baseball has become a national passion.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Cuba, Sports