As Jacob Laskin recently noted, courageous Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá, founder of the nonviolent Christian Liberation Movement, recently passed away in a suspicious car crash. As Humberto Fontova recently observed, wealthy Hollywood actor Mike Farrell has been parroting the propaganda of the Communist Castro regime. But on a recent trip to Cuba an American religious organization, Pastors for Peace, managed to outperform the actor, ignore all Cuban dissidents, and prop up a totalitarian state.
Pastors for Peace is part of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), founded in 1967 “to advance the struggles of oppressed people for justice and self-determination.” But on their recent “Friendshipment Caravan” to Cuba, Pastors for Peace advanced the regime that has been oppressing the Cuban people for decades.
Caravan co-directors Rev. Luis Barrios and Gail Walker told reporters that “the continuity of the solidarity movement with Cuba is a must for people with conscience.” Likewise, when the caravan was touring U.S. cities, Sandino Gomez of Pastors for Peace said that “Our project is designed as an act of solidarity with the Cuban cause. It is about uplifting people out of poverty through education, through healthcare, through job opportunities. People here should care about what is happening there because truthfully, if the Cubans can do it, we can do it.”
Retired Fresno City College professor Gerry Bill told reporters that “I want people to know that Cuba isn’t what they think it is. I would like to encourage more people to go and see it for themselves. You know, it is not a police state with a cop on every corner, or anything like that.” The professor added, “you don’t see poverty or homelessness in Cuba, where everybody basically has a place to live. They have clothes. They have education.” Even so, Pastors for Peace, collected 100 tons of humanitarian aid for Cuba.
While they were touring Cuba in busses, dissident Oswaldo Payá died under suspicious circumstances. The caravan ignored Payá and all Cuban dissidents. Instead they supported the “Cuban Five,” Gerardo Hernandez, Rene Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino, Antonio Guerrero and Fernando Gonzalez, all tried and imprisoned in the United States for gathering intelligence on U.S. air bases and compiling information on officers in the Southern Command.
While ignoring Cuban prisoners of conscience, Pastors for Peace also met with relatives of the Cuban Five and portrayed them as “anti-terrorist Cuban fighters” unfairly held in U.S. prisons. The Five were “heroes” who were only monitoring “violent actions by Florida-based terrorist groups against Cuba.” Therein lies a back story.
The Castro regime is so repressive Cubans will flee at any opportunity, in anything that floats, leaving loved ones behind. Such flight entails great risk, and by some estimates as many as 80,000 Cubans have perished fleeing the Communist regime. The Florida-based group Brothers to the Rescue flies the Straits of Florida in light planes to alert the U.S. Coast Guard to fleeing refugees. The Cuban Five infiltrated Brothers to the Rescue and alerted the Castro regime, which scrambled MIG fighters and downed one of the Brother’s unarmed planes, killing four.
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