by the Twin Ports Cuba Solidarity Committee
UPDATE 7/21: The caravan has successfully defied the blockade and crossed the border into Mexico. Pastors for Peace founder Lucius Walker says it was the easiest border crossing of any of the 20 caravans - a sign that the blockade is on its last legs.
Pastors for Peace rolled through Duluth on July 7 on their way to Cuba to challenge the US blockade. Caravanistas included Ellen Bernstein of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organizing (IFCO), German activist Sabine Caspar and Mike Rozumalski, pastor of the West Denmark Lutheran Church in Luck, WI. 60 people came out to Lafayette Community Center on the Point for an evening send-off and fundraiser. Melissa Boyle and Jane Hosking prepared a wonderful Cuban dinner of beans & rice, platanos and fruit, and we rounded out the evening with salsa lessons led by Sarra Vinnik and Nathan Zarnsorff. In between, Ellen Bernstein spoke about the budding relationship between IFCO and the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana - where 100 low-income people from the US are now studying to be doctors on full scholarship from the Cuban government. We also talked about current efforts in Congress to end the economic war on Cuba, noting that Senators Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Russ Feingold (WI) are among 29 co-sponsors of a bill to end the travel ban, and Congressman Oberstar (MN-8) has reliably put his name on similar legislation in the House. The dancing was fun and the mood was positive. We all know that the blockade is done for, it's just a matter of when.