[Marxism] Caravanista notes from McAllen, Texas

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Jul 6 19:38:01 MDT 2004

This will be the last series of Caravanista notes from here
in McAllen, Texas where the approximately 120 people who've
come to participate in this year's 15th Caravan will leave
for the US-Mexican border in the morning tomorrow.

Today a quite well-attended press conference was held with
Lucius Walker and several Caravan participants. I don't 
know if the film shot was shown on the evening news.

Today the mechanics continues working on the buses to make
sure they're all in working order. Everyone else had some
additional training in non-violence and civil disobedience
techniques. We cannot know what the US government will do 
tomorrow, but the training was designed to see to it that
all challenges are handled in an organized, disciplined and
responsible manner. Quite a few of us did laundry today,
having been on the road for quite some time. Tonight the
non-violence training will continue and be concluded.

In the morning we will cross the border and then have a
long drive to Tampico, where the massive amounts of aid
in medical and humanitarian supplies will be unloaded to
a boat for shipment to Cuba. We will fly to the island
and will arrive there prior to the aid itself arriving.
Our Cuban hosts are making plans for the Caravan and we
don't have details as yet.

This is to let you know that I'm not sure if it will be
possible to access the internet tomorrow, and so I'm not
certain if I'll be able to send any reports until we get
to Cuba on the 9th. I may take a few more days off as it
will take a bit of time to get re-acclimatized to being
on the island where an extremely hot weather period is

You've noticed the wide range of reports from NY Transfer
News at CubaNews list. These have been very helpful during
this period when I've been on the road. I've selected out
many of what I found were the most interesting items, but
now NYTr will be limiting its materials to reports about
Cuba and selected reports form the English-language Cuban
media. I'm sure you'll find them useful.  

Internet access here in McAllen, Texas has been much, much
slower than I've been so used to having in Los Angeles with
a DSL connection. Access in Cuba is even slower and so I'm
thinking of limiting my work in Cuba to the forwarding of
materials such as the Prensa Latina daily reports and a 
very few other items. It simply won't be possible to do a
great deal more than that.

Those of you who've followed the blog know that it's been
kept up until about a week ago. Perhaps when I settle in 
in Cuba I can update that. The Caravan has been an amazing,
stimulating  but also quite exhausting experience. And we
haven't even gotten to Cuba yet. 

Just before this document was ready to go, I received the
text of the formal warning issued by OFAC to Pastors for
Peace regarding this year's Friendshipment Caravan. This 
is reproduced below. They're trying to frighten us off 
but they will not succeed. It authorizes three people to
go with the Caravan and engage in what it calls travel-
related transactions in bring humanitarian aid to the
people of Cuba. Everyone else is threatened with severe
penalties. Below that you will find a link to an article
on Ricardo Alarcon's analysis of the new Bush measures
which are directly related to this OFAC warning notice.

I'll report back to you as soon as it's practical.

Walter Lippmann, moderator
CubaNews list


US/Cuba Friendshipment Caravan XV July 2004

Consistent with United States foreign policy goals of
permitting shipments of humanitarian goods to Cuba, the
Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") has authorized
the exportation of specific goods from the United States to
Cuba as part of this Pastors for Peace caravan. This
authorization also permits up to three persons to engage in
travel-related transactions with Cuba so they may accompany
the shipment to oversee its safe delivery to the intended
recipient, on condition that Pastors for Peace provide the
names and addresses of the authorized travelers to OFAC's
representatives in Hidalgo in advance of their departure
from the United States.


All other caravan participants traveling to Cuba may be in
violation of Cuban Assets Control Regulations and subject
to criminal prosecution and/or OFAC civil penalties. 
Only travelers licensed by OFAC may engage in Cuba
travel-related transactions. Cuban travel-related
transactions include payments for visas and entry and exit
fees as well as day-to-day expenditures for lodging, local
transportation, airfare aboard Cuban carriers, meals, etc.
The prohibition on spending funds in Cuba includes
prepaying an individual or organization for Cuba travel
costs as well as any type of reimbursement for such costs
after the trip. The prohibitions against transactions in
Cuba also include the provision of services to Cuba or a
Cuban national. Only persons in the following categories
are authorized by general license to engage in Cuba
travel-related transactions or provide services in
connection with travel to Cuba.

1. Officials of the U.S. government, foreign governments,
and international organizations of which the U.S. is a
member traveling on official business;

2. Full-time journalists and supporting personnel regularly
employed by a news reporting organization;

3. Full-time professionals performing professional research
in their areas or attending professional meetings or
conferences in Cuba.

All other categories of travelers require a specific
license from OFAC for Cuba travel-related transactions.w
Effective June 30, 2004:

. There is no longer a general license for family

. There is no longer an exception for fully hosted
travelers whose expenses are paid by a person not subject
to U.S. jurisdiction.

. Cuban cigars, rum and other Cuban products are prohibited
imports. There is no longer a general license authorizing
licensed travelers to bring $100 worth of Cuban goods back
into the U.S. All Cuban-origin goods are subject to seizure
except for informational materials. Informational materials
include books, magazines, films, posters, photographs,
recorded tapes and CDs, records, and works of art.

Anyone who engages in unauthorized travel-related
transactions with Cuba is doing so in violation of the
Cuban Assets Control Regulations.

Travelers returning to the United States from Cuba are
subject to inspection and questioning by U.S. Customs and
Border Protection at the Port of Entry. Cases involving
unlawful Cuba travel-related transactions not pursued
criminally will be referred to OFAC for civil enforcement
action. Upon return, the traveler may receive a letter from
OFAC requiring a detailed report on his/her travel-related
transactions involving Cuba. OFAC has issued hundreds of
civil penalties in connection with unlawful travel-related
transactions in Cuba. Civil penalties of up to $65,000 may
be assessed for each violation.

Office of Foreign Assets Control o 
United States Department of the Treasury o (202) 622-2430  



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