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News ::
Challenge U.S. blockade of Cuba at Maine/Canada border on August 18
06 Aug 2001
On August 18 Let Cuba Live, Quebec-Cuba friendship society, and Pastors for Peace will challenge U.S. blockade of Cuba by attempting to deliver medical aid for the people of Cuba at the Coburn Gore, Maine border checkpoint. They will also demand release of aid seized by U.S. Customs on July 2.

*** For Immediate Release *** 8/8/2001

The Return to Coburn Gore

A Let Cuba Live Medical Aid Shipment to Cuba

A project of Let Cuba Live, Pastors for Peace , Caravane d'Amitie
Quebec - Cuba and The Association quebecoise des amis de Cuba.

On Saturday August 18 at 12 noon, Let Cuba Live along with other Cuba solidarity supporters will once again attempt to cross the US / Canada border with a shipment of humanitarian aid that will be bound for Cuba via the Port of Montreal.
The caravan of aid-bearing trucks, cars and a bus carrying supporters from New York and the New England states will assemble at a hospitality house in the Farmington area on Saturday morning for the drive to the border.
This challenge to the US blockade of Cuba will take place at the Coburn Gore check point on the Maine / Canada border where an aid shipment was seized by US Customs on July 2.
On July 2, during an hours-long struggle with Customs and Immigration officials activists managed to walk about 1/3 of their shipment across the border and place it in the care of their Canadian friends. Customs managed to seize the balance of the shipment which included hospital bed sheets, blankets, adult diapers and patient gowns. Also seized were much needed hi tech items that were crated and too heavy for activists to carry across the border, a newborn warming and monitoring station and two anesthesia machines, each one capable of fulfilling the anesthesia needs of a small hospital.
Despite an organized protest in Portland on July, 21 and an outpouring of supportive statements from groups and individuals from around the world these supplies remain in the possession of US Customs. Let Cuba Live continues to demand the return of this aid so that it may be sent to Cuba.
The medical supplies and equipment for the July 2 shipment and the upcoming August 18 shipment were donated by doctors and hospitals from throughout Maine.
A permit to ship the aid will not be applied for and should one be offered it will be refused. Let Cuba Live has steadfastly refused to apply for a license for these shipments, believing that to do so would validate the forty year old US blockade of Cuba. Let Cuba Live believes that a blockade that stands between hungry people and food and sick people and and medicine is immoral, and under international law, illegal.
Maine-based Let Cuba Live and IFCO / Pastors for Peace in New York along with other Cuba solidarity groups in the US, Canada and Mexico have sent aid shipments to Cuba by caravan eleven times since 1993. In past years aid shipments have been seized by U.S. Customs on both the U.S. / Canada border and the U.S. / Mexico border. These seizures have been won back because this Cuba solidarity coalition was able to call on the public for support and thus energize grass roots movements that led to their return.
Todd Ricker, a Let Cuba Live member from Portland said, "The government responds to these aid shipments in a very arbitrary fashion, we have no idea what to expect. On July 2 when our stuff was seized a Pastors for Peace shipment carrying many of the same items was permitted to leave the US for Mexico totally uninspected and accompanied by a police escort."
Steve Burke, a Let Cuba Live member from Warren adds, "Cuba is a country of 11 million people, all of these shipments put together do little to meet their actual needs, we do this to show support for the Cuban people and as an act of solidarity. We also strive to educate people in this country to the fact that this blockade has teeth. Nothing is getting through to the Cubans, not one aspirin, not one pound of Louisiana rice and not one potato from Aroostook County, Maine".
Judy Robbins, a member from Sedgewick stated, "By our public challenge to the U.S. blockade against Cuba, we intend to show that this immoral and cruel policy does not reflect the will or intent of the people of the United States. It can only be maintained if it continues to be free from public scrutiny. We will expose the blockade for what it really is: a shameful and outmoded act of hostility that benefits no one."

For additional information please call :

Midcoast - Steve Burke --------------------------- 207-273-3247

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