Cuba Welcomes US ‘Pastors For Peace’ Defying Trump Sanctions

Pastors for Peace Vehicle

Pastors for Peace Vehicle | Photo: IFCOnews

‘Our caravans extend solidarity to the Cuban people’, say the Pastors for Peace organization that annually visits the blockaded island in protest of U.S. policy.

The Pastors for Peace Caravan is preparing for their annual visit to Cuba Saturday, a visit the government is celebrating this year in particular as it comes amid new travel restrictions by the US government.

Ana Silvia Rodriguez, Cuba’s ambassador at the United Nations says the upcoming ‘Pastors for Peace Caravan’ to the island by United States religious figures sends a clear message of difiance to the current U.S. administration that Cuba and religious protesters won’t accept its hostile policies.

Pastors for Peace have been visiting the island since 1992, often delivering medical and other supplies that have been able to enter the island due to the nearly 60-year U.S. blockade. This year, the pastors say: “Our caravans extend solidarity to the Cuban people.” Starting Saturday, participants will visit Havana and the Cienfuegos region where they will “explore how the Cuban people are moving forward in healthcare, organic farming, sustainable tourism, the diversity of religious expression in Cuba, and Cuba’s efforts to tackle legacies of racism, sexism, homophobia, and more.”

Since the religious caravan began nearly 30 years ago, the visit has been an act of ‘civil disobedience’, according to organizers who protest who are against U.S. policy that has long-prohibited its citizens from traveling to the island nation.

Participants in the tour that has now helped thousands of U.S. citizens see first-hand the daily life of Cubans, will, this year, be able to see how increased santions on Cuba by the President Donald Trump administration are affecting average people there.

The new restrictions include a ban on cruise tour ships moving between the U.S. and Cuba, which is affecting the island’s travel and tourism that it is economically depends on. The restrictions also include cracking down on ‘educational trips,’ like the pastors caravan.

Minister Rodriguez criticized the administration’s newest restrictions, suggesting Trump and his cabinet “are afraid that people from the U.S. will learn the true reality of my country.”

Fr Luis Barrios Friends Racine June 13 2019

IFCO/Pastors For Peace Caravan stop in Racine, WI June 13, 2019 / Photo: WI BOPM

Milwaukee, June 30, 2019: St. Ben’s Community Meal Program Cookout with Milwaukee Area Labor Council

St. Ben’s Community Meal Program Cookout with MALC

The Community Services Committee of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council AFL-CIO is proud to announce its 2019 partnership with St. Ben’s Community Meal Program which feeds the homeless and working poor on Sunday, June 30th 2019 at St. Benedict the Moor (St. Ben’s Church), 930 W. State Street. The St. Ben’s Parking Lot address is 924 W. State Street

In order to serve our 500 to 600 guests, we will need the support of organized labor to prepare the food, and volunteers to help serve our guests.

Please call Emily Mueller at (414) 771-7070 ext 15 or email with any questions or to confirm your volunteer support. We would appreciate your response by the end of May.

Sign up to volunteer using this link-

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45 Million Strike in Brazil Against Pension Reform

Millions of Brazilians participated in a general strike and mass demonstration on Friday, June 14 against far-right president Jair Bolsonaro’s push for pension reform. It was one of the largest mobilizations against Bolsonaro’s government since he took office in January. Actions were held in more than 380 cities around the country.

If approved, the pension reform will set a minimum retirement age and reduce benefits while inflating the number of years necessary to work in order to achieve those benefits. Bolsonaro’s finance minister Paulo Guedes says the reform is necessary to stave off financial disaster. The head of the Brazil’s lower house says it could go to a vote by June 26.

Unions say the reform is a push toward privatization. “The heart, the essence, of this reform is the privatization of social security,” said Anna Julia Rodrigues, the president of the Santa Catarina state chapter of Brazil’s largest labor federation, the CUT.

According to the CUT, 45 million people participated in the nation-wide strike. Students and teachers were among those who took to the streets en masse. They have rallied twice over the last month against a huge 30 percent budget cut federal universities and schools, which is expected to impact funding for research, grants, student transportation, and diverse programs.

Students and teachers also fear the impact on their own lives if Bolsonaro’s pension reform is approved.

“This reform can’t pass, because we know it’s an attack on workers and students. And we’re soon going to be the workforce of the country,” said Isis Leite, a high school student who attended the march in Florianopolis. “We have to defend our right to retire, or else we are going to work until we die.”

During the general strike, protesters also called for the release of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The strike came just days after the publication of recent bombshell leaks, published by The Intercept, that provide definitive proof that former judge Sergio Moro collaborated with federal prosecutors against Lula to convict him on corruption charges. The revelations did not come as a surprise to many on the Left who have long held that Lula was imprisoned on trumped up charges in order to block him from returning to power. With Lula barred from running, Bolsonaro won the election and appointed Moro his Justice Minister, a move that many saw as evidence that the Lava Jato investigations had been politically motivated from the start….

Members of Brazilian social movements, including the Landless Workers Movement (MST) block a highway in the Northeastern state of Ceara during the June 14 general strike. (Photo courtesy of MST)

Phonezap for Martin CI in Florida: Rampant Filth and Food Violations

Prisoners from inside Martin Correctional Institute in southern Florida have asked for our help! They offer testimony of rampant sanitation violations, abuses of authority and the weaponization of food (or its withdrawl) as punishment. PHONE ZAP today June 20, 8am – 5pm EST. Share the details with your people!

Martin CI Food Service violations, as per prisoner testimony:

1. Kitchen is infested with rats and roaches, all running through the dining hall during feeding.

2. Constant and intentional deviation from master menu and state standards. Food Service Director Mitchell serves whatever he pleases with impunity.

3. Constant intentional serving of spoiled, leftover food. Exposing prisoners to stomach viruses and food poisoning which occurred in en masse in March 2019.

4. Moldy trays, greasy sporks and cups. All trays, cups,and sporks are being washed in filthy garbage cans, rather than by dishwasher and without legally required water temperature and detergent.

5. Prisoner cooks, preparing lavish meals (BBQ chicken, cinnamon rolls, chicken sandwiches and fried potatoes) for Overseers,while prison population is fed swill

6. Food Service Director Mitchell is misappropriating taxpayer funds. Using taxpayer funds to orderfood for his two restaurants in society.

7. Food Service Director Mitchell is threatening to take prisoners off their religious or dietary meals or even put them in solitary confinement if they file grievances regarding master menu deviation.

8. Food Service Director, Mitchell is throwing prisoner grievances regarding food service in the trash. He even laughs at prisoners, boldly stating,”Keep writing grievances! I’m a potato you niggers’ ass to death.” (meaning no nutrition but potatoes).

9. Martin CI administration is totally aware of Food Service Director Mitchell’s actions but refuse to correct him. Instead, administration is helping him cover up food service violations.

We need your help on the outside to bring pressure and shine a light on these violations!

Please make these calls and write these emails!

“I’m calling about the horrific violations that are occuring in food service at Martin Correctional Institution such as spoiled food being served, unsanitary conditions, abuses of authority and rampant vermin infestations. I demand these complaints be addressed and any prisoners who have been retaliated against for exposing these human rights violations be released from confinement immediately and have their visitation rights restored. Thank you”

Martin CI Warden Robert Bryner

Director Region 4,Thomas Reid

DOC Secretary Mark Inch

Gov. Ron DeSantis
Don’t be worried if anyone is rude or if they argue or deny anything is going on. That is what they always do! Just you calling or emailing delivers the message that we are watching and we know the situation.