Our meetings are open to all
3rd Wednesday of each month
Note: Usually we meet in Brunswick, but ocassionally at other locations around the state, so contact us just to be sure.
(207) 743-2183 (207) 273-3247 (207) 443-2899
mail (at) letcubalive.org
Let Cuba Live
For Immediate Release
CUBA TRAVELERS FACING F.B.I. HARASSMENT AFTER RETURNING
U.S. citizens who returned from visiting Cuba this past summer have begun facing F.B.I. harassment. The five travelers who were visited by the F.B.I. were all participants of the Venceremos Brigade, a group that organizes annual educational and work trips to Cuba while promoting normalizing U.S./Cuba relations.
The Venceremos Brigade denounces the recent FBI harassment, standing in full solidarity with those participants approached and stating that they will not be intimidated. The Brigade intends to continue traveling to Cuba, bringing material aid to the people and facilitating cultural and educational exchange. They proclaim that they have a constitutional right to travel and will continue to exercise it. The 41st contingent is scheduled for this year, from July 11th to July 26th.
Over 140 U.S. citizens traveled to Cuba with the Venceremos Brigade this past August as a way of protesting the U.S. travel ban and economic embargo on the island. This has been part of what the Venceremos Brigade is calling a “travel challenge”, through which more than 1,200 Americans have traveled to Cuba over the past 6 years in defiance of unjust travel restrictions.
This is not the first time travelers with the Venceremos Brigade have faced a government reaction. Over the past several years 350 travel challengers-including those traveling with other organizations such as Pastors for Peace-have received letters from the U.S. Treasury Department threatening fines. The Venceremos Brigade demands that instead of harassing people that travel to Cuba, the U.S. government should normalize relations with the nation. Brigadistas expressed deep concerns that despite President Obama’s pledges for a more diplomatic U.S., he continues the nearly 50-year old embargo. They point to the harm it has caused the Cuban people and their economy, its ineffectiveness for nearly half a century, and its unpopularity among Americans (including Cuban-Americans) and the international community. They are also asking why now, under the Obama administration, is the F.B.I. (as an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice) going after U.S. citizens for traveling to Cuba?
Brigadistas, while refusing to answer any questions from F.B.I. agents, are demanding that the U.S. government end all harassment of citizens exercising their constitutional right to travel. Pending legislation in Congress would make travel to Cuba legal for all Americans (not just Cuban-Americans), as well as open up trade among both nations, particularly now that more travel and trade would result in more American exports and jobs.
Regardless of whether such legislation passes, and despite recent F.B.I. harassment, the Venceremos Brigade will continue to travel to Cuba. Its participants are available for interviews.