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Our War on Cuba: Trade, Travel, and Baseball (1/12)

Our War on Cuba: Trade, Travel, and Baseball

After viewing the short film Bloqueo, Rev Lucius Walker will speak about the efforts of Pastors for Peace to end the Blockade and embargo of Cuba.
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Our War on Cuba: Trade, Travel, and Baseball

Media Contact: Nancy Abbey - 465 8272
Event: January Film/Speaker
Date: January 12, 2006


Baseball? Yes, even baseball. Not only has the U.S. tightened restrictions on trade and travel to “squeeze� the Cuban economy, in December the U.S. Treasury Department notified organizers of the World Baseball Classic that Cuba would not be allowed to have a team in the inaugural tournament which is scheduled to be played in March. At the same time the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba has been reconstituted to augment the U.S. State Department’s plans developed in 2002 for a “speedy end� to the current Cuban government.

While the U.S. public is focused on the war in Iraq, the administration is quietly escalating our 40-year, low-intensity war on Cuba. Why does this relic from the cold war still guide U.S. policy? Why does it interfere with your right to travel to Cuba? What can we do to end this bad neighbor policy? Join us on Thursday January 12 for a discussion of these questions with Reverend Lucius Walker, founder and President of Pastors for Peace.

The event will include a screening of Bloqueo - a film that illustrates the inhumanity and absurdity of the U.S. blockade on Cuba and features the efforts of Pastors for Peace to break the blockade by sending “Friendshipments� of humanitarian aid to Cuba.

IFCO/Pastors for Peace has taken more than 3000 tons of aid to Cuba since 1992 without requesting a license from the U.S. government, powerfully challenging the immorality and illegality of the cruel economic blockade and travel ban of that island. Rev. Walker will discuss the status of the most recent challenge and how you can help.

Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr. has organized actions against apartheid in South Africa, supported self-determination in Puerto Rico, and led efforts to provide humanitarian aid for Chiapas, Central America and Cuba. In 2005, Pastors for Peace also organized two aid caravans to Louisiana and Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina.

When: 7PM on Thursday, January 12, 2006
Where: First Congregational Church, 900 High Street, Santa Cruz
Donation at the door: $5-$15 to benefit Pastors for Peace- no one turned away for lack of funds.
Public Information Number: 465 8272
Sponsored by: Cuba Study Group and the Santa Cruz Cuba Caravan Committee
 
 


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Re: Our War on Cuba: Trade, Travel, and Baseball (1/12)

THE CUBAN POLITICAL PRISIONERS TODAY

Intolerably hot and cramped cells. Contaminated water and food. Rats, bugs and medical neglect. Is this the notorious 1850s French penal colony on Devil's Island? No, it is what some 100,000 prisoners in Cuba live every day.

This extraordinarily high number, documented by a new study, suggests that Cuba has one of the world's highest rates, if not the highest rate, of imprisonment: some 900 inmates for every 100,000 people.

This alone is reason for the international community to condemn Cuba's barbaric prison conditions and press for access and improvement. When he visits Cuba this week, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva should take up this cause and lobby for the release of the political prisoners.

ANYTHING IS A CRIME

The numbers aren't surprising. Cuba's Stalinist police state treats all 11.3 million Cubans as prisoners in their own country -- all except regime elites. Thus leaving the island without the government's blessing is a criminal offense. Practically anything else can be considered a crime under Cuba's vaguely worded and broadly enforced penal code.

Consider: Cubans are locked up for trying to buy or sell anything privately, starting their own business or having any item that may have been purchased on the black market -- among other ''offenses.'' This year the regime targeted for arrest people who illegally owned satellite dishes or ran home-based video-rental businesses.

Those who criticize the regime are charged with ''disrespecting'' authority, ''dangerousness'' or ''acts against state security,'' which can mean anything that the repressive authorities deem criminal.

The prisoner study comes from the nongovernmental Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation. The commission painstakingly collected information from former inmates to calculate the capacity of Cuba's 200 prisons and labor camps. Given the reports of overcrowding, 100,000 likely is a conservative number.

SERIOUSLY ILL

Among the imprisoned, the commission counts more than 300 political prisoners. That includes 75 dissidents sentenced to terms of more than 20 years on charges ranging from sedition to espionage. Of particular concern is the inadequate medical attention for those seriously ill, among them Oscar ElĂ­as Biscet, Leonardo Miguel BruzĂłn, Oscar Espinosa Chepe and Martha Beatriz Roque.

And what of the common prisoners? Specifics are hard to come by because Cuba doesn't allow the International Red Cross or other outside monitors to observe prison conditions. The world community and all who support human rights should pressure the regime to open its jails to monitors -- or face international condemnation.
 

Re: Our War on Cuba: Trade, Travel, and Baseball (1/12)

Anyone who believes in Human Rights, cannot stand up for Cuba. End of story.
 

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