The blockade-busting Caravan to Cuba with Pastors for Peace burst out of the U.S. yesterday. They did lose 32 computers--an event explicitly documented by Janine Bancroft on her blog--to U.S. government confiscation. But the caravanistas are on their way to Cuba undaunted.
Janine asks: "PLEASE CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE, THE MEDIA, OR THE U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to voice concern at these actions at 1-800-540-6322."
B.E. affirms: Citizen pressure has been quite effective in releasing goods destined for donation after their confiscation by the OFAC in past Cuba caravans.
Ten years ago I was a caravanista. It was a memorable moment in my life, perhaps my proudest moment. I hope in the upcoming days to tell a story or two--fond memories of the glory days, much like an aged athlete recalls the time his high school basketball team won the state championship.
For today, I'll content myself with recalling the small bands of folk groups who entertained the caravan in countless little receptions during our travels throughout the island country. Without fail "Hasta Siempre, Comandante Che Guevara" was on their play list. I had never heard it before. The groups almost prayed the song, performing it with unmistakable devotion--hymn-like. I fell in love with it, and each time it was performed I would hang on each syllable transfixed, afraid that I'd never hear it again. Thanks to the Buena Vista Social Club which released not long afterward, my fear never materialized; the song is readily available.
It is an apt song for July 4, the day we remember our heritage of revolution in the U.S. Sadly although our C.I.A. assassinated Che, providing another example of how we have moved from being revolutionaries to squelching the movements of the people's revolutions, perhaps I can resolve to be at least revolutionary enough to make a toll-free call and
This being a government holiday and a three day weekend, this may be an exercise in futility. But I'll give it a whirl and maybe it'll turn into a story to tell here next week. If you try, I'd love to hear your experience. Hasta la victoria siempre, Compas.
Hasta Siempre, Che Guevara