BRUNSWICK — The Let Cuba Live organization will co-sponsor an event with the host church honoring IFCO/Pastors for Peace, a faith-based group in New York, 5-7 p.m. Thursday, June 28, at Unitarian Universalist Church, 1 Middle St. in Brunswick. There will be speakers and a film.
On the agenda is the 2018 version of the Cuba Friendshipment Caravan, a Pastors for Peace project that began in 1992. The Caravan travels to Cuba every year taking people and humanitarian aid. Participants go there in support of efforts worldwide to end U.S. interference in Cuba and to end an economic embargo of the island that’s continued now for more than half a century. Their visit there also allows them to learn more about Cuban life and society.
Going to Cuba in a spirit of civil disobedience, the caravan people purposefully defy U.S. rules on Cuba travel and on taking aid material. This year they’ll be emphasizing travel to Cuba as a human right. Let Cuba Live is organizing the event in order to generate support for the Caravan, says member Steve Burke.
Pastors for Peace, a section of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), is a leading advocate for a change to relations between the two countries based on mutual respect. IFCO/Pastors for Peace has also defended the rights of prisoners and immigrants and spoken out for justice beyond U.S. borders – in Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Central America. Its founder and longtime leader was the late Rev. Lucius Walker, a prominent defender of civil and human rights.
Cheryl LaBash, who has worked closely with Pastors for Peace for many years, will be on hand on June 28 to talk about Cuba, U.S. policies on Cuba, and the Friendshipment. She’s a political journalist and a co-chairperson of the National Network on Cuba, the umbrella organization made up of U.S. groups in solidarity with Cuba.
There will be a showing of the new film “Dare to Dream: Cuba’s Latin American Medical School”. Created by Pastors for Peace associate Jennifer Wager, the film describes a medical school in Cuba that graduates almost 1500 new doctors every year who will be providing care in their own countries throughout the world, including the United States. They studied at the school on full scholarships courtesy of Cuba’s government.
Gary Lawless of Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick will open the proceedings with a poem. He recently published a booklet featuring his own poems plus poems from authors living in Trinidad in Cuba, Brunswick’s sister-city partner. Casa Cabana Poetry, translated in a bi-lingual edition by Pilar Tirado of Brunswick, will be available for purchase.
And, according to Steve Burke, people attending the event will sit down to a full Cuban meal, prepared with care.
Let Cuba Live is an organization of Maine people that since 1992 has worked politically for decent U.S.-Cuban relations. In various ways the group has been advocating for a changed U.S. approach to Cuba. Much of its work is about informing the public and elected officials about Cuban realities.