Saturday, July 09, 2005

Rochester Minnesota

... is a lovely town, the people are nice and the food is plentiful. The event was great and well attended, our travelling bellies are full. Were joined by Sabine from Germany travelling in a Bob especial van, max speed is below thespeed limit, does a two hour trip in three. Adios.

report from Fargo ND

Fargo was a great event, stayed at Master Lu's dojo, excellent caravanista breakfast, got interviewed by the local NBC affiliate (can't remember the call letters, we looked good though)

Friday, July 08, 2005

update from Brookings South Dakota

a great event, about 35 people fired up about lifting the embargo and showing solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Cuba - a great event put together by Pax Christi of Brookings - their first caravan event - it went wonderfully!and great food also!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Corvallis, OR

The 16th Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba was launched last evening in Corvallis at an "authentic Cuban dinner" at Intaba's Restaurant. Every seat was taken with more than 40 people attending.

We started with a brief explanation of the menu by a newly arrived Cuban from Havana:

Ropa Vieja...a cheaper cut of meat that is first boiled, then shredded and soaked in a great sauce with onions, garlic, green olives and tomato
Black Beans
Yellow Rice
Fu plantain, boiled and then mashed with LOTS of garlic and olive oil....then formed into little balls
Green Salad
Pineapple and Mango slices for dessert

People seemed to love the food and enjoy the company... Later our friend from Cuba (she's on a visitor's visa and does not want her name used!) talked about growing up during the Revolution, and life in Cuba today. The biggest struggles being putting food on the table (especially meats which are expensive) and transportation.....having to wait 2 hours for a bus totake you to your job, and then 2 hours to get home again.

Nevertheless, she commented how despite the struggles Cubans seem to be happy and have the energy to dance the night away, and show a positive and upbeat attitude towards co workers, friends or family members (in contrast to here, where despite ALL of our options and conveniences, people seem STRESSED all of the time! ?What, she wondered, do WE have to be stressed about? We jump in our cars, drive to work, and barely greet each other, more growling or grunting then showing any genuine interest in those around us.....

She thought more young people are wanting to leave Cuba to lead a "better" more material plentiful life, but the older ones stay loyal to the Revolutionary ideals. That people are divided in their opinions just as they are here and elsewhere.

Cubans do not travel much because they do not have the money to travel, NOT because they are not allowed to leave. Only those with sensitive information are not permited to travel. But mostly it is because other countries require huge sums of money deposited before a Visa is granted. She used Mexico for example.....where she was told she would have to deposit $3000.USA (non refundable) before she "might" get a Visa to go to Mexico.

It is her opinion that many Cubans living in the USA are disappointed, and not happy; they miss what they left behind in Cuba. Life here has been a disillusionment for them.

It was an open and friendly discussion where people seemed to feel free to ask questions. There were many members of the Committees for Correspondence present, professors from the university, and a scattering of international folks: Puerto Rico, Honduras, Venezuela, Bosnia and England....

Next, the P4P spokesperson, Richard, spoke. He had us close our eyes and IMAGINE a yellow schoolbus.....uhhhhhhhhh, that is because the bus didn't make it to Corvallis, but is actually still in Arcata, CA....and I'll let somebody ELSE explain that one!

What Richard did so eloquently, I thought, was paint a bigger picture than just Cuba... suggesting how the agression throughout the world, and the preemptive war in Iraq are all one and the same with the blockade and policies towards Cuba. And that Cuba receives much admiration and support from throughout Latin and South America.

He covered the history of P4P solidarity with Cuba and the unpredictability of these caravans... hunger strikes in Cusoms platform in Laredo, TX, anxious moments with Alpha 66 in San Diego and etc. He asked for donations to support the caravan, and thanks to a generous donation from the restaurant itself, we collected just over $325. I am proud of that, as this community had already donated $1000. by January for the bus, and almost as much for the scholarships of the 3 Indigenous Mexican students I have invited.

We discussed the Posada Carilles case coming up in August in El Paso, and how the fact that it has even gone this far (to his arrest) might indicate a weakening of the Miami Cuban power. There is weariness and some distancing from Bush due in part to his restrictions of travel for family members etc. to Cuba.

As I said, it was a friendly crowd...maybe 1/4 had traveled to Cuba, and even more were Spanish speakers. People hung around at the end, continuing private conversations.....all in all I'd say it was a great success!


Tuesday, July 05, 2005


July 5, 2005

In a miraculous feat of mechanical prowess, Carlos (of the Ramon/East Coast route bus) and Jim (revered staple of the caravan community) succeeded when mechanics, sages and gurus of all types had failed to fix Ramon's radiator fan. After a slight delay in Boston, Ramon and its passengers and material aid are headed for Western Mass. early tomorrow. Special thanks, as well, to Rick and Bill for their guidance through this trial. Another victory for the left!


p.s. to blogmaster/mistress: I emailed a pic of Carlos and Jim by phone. Hope it gets to you. Thanks.

2/1/2: Labor Ending Discrimination

starting out - part 2

starting out before the crossing Posted by Picasa

starting out - part 1

the caravan crossed from Canada to the US on July 2 Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 04, 2005


this is the caravan 16 blog - here you can find updates from caravanistas travelling on the road.