Caravan co-director Gail Walker told reporters that supporting the Cuban Five, “is an extension of our faith as people of conscience.” Walker is the daughter of Pastors for Peace founder Rev. Lucius Walter, a former associate general secretary of the National Council of Churches. In 2000, Rev. Walker formed a national committee to return Elian Gonzalez, then only six years old, to Cuba. When Cuban dictator Fidel Castro visited New York, the Rev. Walker, who died in 2010, arranged Castro’s meetings.
Caravan co-director Rev. Luis Barrios bills himself as a “liberation theologian” but during the trip the clergyman issued no call for Cubans to be liberated from a regime that, according to Amnesty International, remains a one-party state that restricts the freedom of expression, association and assembly. None of the Pastors for Peace issued a manifesto for internationally supervised free elections, with multiple parties, a true choice for voters, and no fear of intimidation.
Pastors for Peace thus gave humanitarian aid to a nation they claimed is a model of healthcare, education and job opportunities, as Sandino Gomez put it. They maintained silence on human rights violations and remained uncritical of the Communist Castro regime. They ignored Cuban dissidents but defended agents of the Castro regime who spied on the United States and facilitated attacks on those who flee Cuba. And of course they denounced the U.S. embargo.
But remember, this was not a matter of politics but “faith and conscience,” as Gail Walker said. Little wonder that Cuba’s Jose Marti Cultural Society gave Pastors for Peace its highest award “La Utilidad de la Virtud,” (the utility of virtue), reserved for “prominent figures and institutions that promote and defend the foundations of the Cuban nation.”
Pastors for Peace are the last worshipful defenders of a loathsome Marxist-Sadist regime. They would be wise not to be in Cuba when that regime comes tumbling down, which cannot be long delayed.
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