Presentation by Rev. Lucius Walker

Campaign News | Thursday, 1 May 2003

May Day in Havana

Presentation by Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr.

Plaza of the Revolution, Havana, Cuba, May 1, 2003

Dear Commander Fidel Castro, Dear religious leaders here present, and

Dear people of Cuba:

I come to you today as a pastor; I come representing Pastors for Peace. I

come to stand with our sisters and brothers in Cuba, in the midst of the

worst provocation by any US administration in history. But I come to

declare that you are loved, respected, appreciated, and supported by

millions of US citizens who oppose our government's hostility, provocation,

and breaches of diplomatic norms.

Your US friends for whom I am privileged to speak today are true friends,

not fair-weather friends. We have stood with you in the past; we are

standing with you now in this present moment of crisis and attack by the

US; and we will stand with you in the future, no matter what the cost. We

have full confidence in your integrity. We affirm the beautiful values and

principles the Cuban people adhere to. We join your nation in your

struggle against US terrorism, because the people of Cuba represent hope

and help and healing for the people of the world. We join you now because

you deserve our friendship. But we also join you because the world needs Cuba.

Now, speaking also as a pastor and a friend of Cuba, I sincerely plead with

Cuba to abolish the death penalty. Of course other nations have the death

penalty -- 137 others, including the United States itself. But Cuba is

different from other nations. Cuba has taken a path which distinguishes it

for its outstanding concern for the welfare of human life. No other nation

is the provider of free health care to the world. No other nation is the

provider of free education to lift the minds of the citizens of the

world. Cuba, you are a world leader in human rights and respect for

life. And the death penalty demeans Cuba. You are better than that. So I

call on Cuba to, by example, lead a world campaign to end the death penalty.

As a pastor, and as a citizen of the United States, I sincerely plead with

my own government to cease its hypocritical lies and distortions about

Cuba's human rights record -- for in fact the United States itself is the

worst violator of human rights in this hemisphere.

As a pastor for peace, I plead with my own government to stop labeling Cuba

as a terrorist state -- when in fact the US harbors and finances

terrorists, criminals, indeed murderers of Cuban citizens, allowing them to

openly operate terrorist training camps and freely walk the streets of

South Florida with the stated purpose of being terrorists to overthrow the

Cuban government.

As a pastor for peace, I call on my government to stop encouraging illegal

migration, and to abide by the 1995 immigration accords.

I call on my government to release the five heroic Cubans jailed in the US

for the "crime" of detecting and reporting the plans of US-based terrorism

against Cuba.

In the face of all these wrongs, you, beloved, beautiful Cuban people, have

maintained a high moral position; you have remained disciplined and

vigilant. You must continue to take the high moral ground.

The pastor in me inspires me to believe that Jesus was describing Cuba

2003, even when he spoke from the mountain in Galilee, saying:

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children

of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for

theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and order

all kinds of evils against you falsely.

Rejoice and be glad, for great will be your reward.

Cuba, you are a blessed people. Cuba, you, out of your love and humanity,

bless the world. You are the light of the world.

So hold on!

Hold on to your vision;

Hold on to your dreams;

Hold on to your values;

Hold on to your revolution.

Know that 'weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.'

"Let us not love in word: but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:18

This speech, with Spanish translation, and other related materials can be

found on the IFCO web site

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