US government threatens US solidarity groups wth fines totalling $1.5 million

Campaign News | Thursday, 12 January 2006

Venceremos Brigade and Pastors for Peace targeted for travelling to Cuba

WASHINGTON, January 10 - The Venceremos Brigade and the Pastors for Peace Foundation that the U.S. authorities have threatened hundreds of their members with fines totalling $1.5 million for traveling to Cuba.

Thousands of U.S. citizens have visited the Caribbean island over the last 30 years as members of both of these groups in solidarity with the Cuban people.

Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department began contacting 200 travelers associated with those organizations and linked them to acts of civil disobedience for their visits to Cuba.

In total, the letters from the treasury imply the activists could face fines of up to more than $1.5 million, sources said.

The Reverend Lucius Walker, leader of the Pastors for Peace Foundation, traveled to Havana this past November as part of his efforts for international solidarity with Cuba.

Walker made the trip with a group of young people who are studying at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) and their relatives. The school was created by the Cuban government to offer low-income youth from across the continent the opportunity to study medicine.

In statements to Prensa Latina, the reverend emphasized that his visit was another example of the brotherhood between the peoples of the United States and Cuba.

No measure adopted by the government in Washington would stop their traditional fraternity with the island, he noted.

Walker also pointed to Cuba’s victory in the United Nations in 2005, when 182 countries voted to end the criminal economic blockade maintained by the United States against Havana for more than four decades.

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