Pastors for Peace’s Shameful Visit to Cuba


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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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  • Rifleman

    They look like worshipers of marx, pretending to be Christians. They are doing for castro what their comrades before them did for stalin.

  • oldtimer

    2Peter 2:1…But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you……

  • AlgerHiss

    About 20 years ago, I had to stop watching M.A.S.H. reruns: Mike Farrell is such a horrid little puke.

  • tagalog

    Liberation theology, ho-hum… One would hope that they would at least have the integrity to come all of the way out of the leftist closet and declare themselves for the revolutionary side. At least then we'd have clarity. Not that we don't have it now.

    They remind me of the people who call for revolution, then when you take them to mean revolution, they tell you they really mean rapid change without violence. Oh, right, that kind of revolution, got it…

    • johnnywoods

      tagalog, I have read the entire Bible almost 100 times but I have never found "Liberation Theology" in there . Wonder where they get that from? Ho-hum indeed.

      • tagalog

        I doubt that the Bible has any references to "theology" either. I might have missed something somewhere in my reading of the Bible, but I interpret God in the Bible as the "I am that I am" kind of being that He says He is to Moses.

  • Brujo Blanco

    When one visits places such as N Korea or Cuba the visit is supervised by government officials. These officials control what you see, hear, and read. Rich liberals from the States will make a visit and self identify as an expert on the country they visit. These two countries imprison and/or exexcute political dissidents. The American left will not acknowledge this. This information is so blatant that I am satisfied that the left lies about the nature of these countries.

    • johnnywoods

      Ya think?

  • Ghostwriter

    Cuba is the last place I would ever visit. I would sooner drown myself than go there.

    • johntevault

      Perhaps your ignorance would be dispelled by a visit to see for yourself instead of sucking up the slop dished out to the poor USans by the government subsidized US press.
      I have visited Cuba at least 10 times. I have never, NEVER been supervised in any way at any time. Like all people living there, I have complete freedom to move around the island. You should go before the Mafia returns to try to make it into the whorehouse and playground for the rich USans before the war of liberation.
      Free the Cuban Five!

  • HighPressure

    I wondered if they visited real Pastors" in Castro's Prisons?

  • jmz

    of course they are for peace. pease contrary to popular belief is very easy…just give up freedom, and free will and wahhhhhlaaahhh. you have peace. its quite tru. the most peaceful nations are the most oppressive. the peace is only disrupted when individuality emerges and disrupts the collective mindset. as long as nothing changes and nothing moves then you will have peace. personally i rather have freedom than peace, dont you

  • pedro animala

    What ignorance…that is all I have to say. A few more brains like these and usamerica will soon start hating little puppies, too. What is it that you fear from Cuba, the truth?

    • jmz

      lol what truth? the truth that cubans are oppressed under communist dictators? communist are weak minded small dictators pretending to be noble. nobody in america is risking like and limb to go live in cuba. but you sure do have 1 hell of alot of people trying to flee cuba. why is that. people who support the filthy cuban govt are slaves nothing more so afraid of freedom that they would rather live as slaves than free people. only foolish libs who never lived under oprressive regimes thinks communism is cool. commies wouldnt know the truth if their facist state run media gave it to them at gunpoint. #GODBLESSAMERICAANDCAPITIALISM4EVER

  • mlcblog

    My daughter was invited on one of the student type trips there and saw nothing but glorious communism. Everything very lovely and working well. !!!!!!!!!!! (my own daughter!)

  • johntevault

    Dear me! This is just astonishing how USans have such strong convictions about a place they have never visited and people that they have never met.
    Free yourself. Go to Cuba. It's easy, legally or illegally.
    I went one of my ten trips with Pastors for Peace, working to help rebuild schoold destroyed by the 2008 hurricanes, for 6 weeks, and stayed another 2 weeks to attend a conference and visit family and friends there.
    What a beautiful, free people!
    Try it. You will wonder how you could have held onto your ignorant opinions for so long.

  • http://www.whatsupdownunder.com.au/ Sarah R. Richarson

    I fear repercussions for religious themed caravans. It is no way to actuate and align humanitarian caravans if we made striking with over-zealous emphasis on religious symbols.