Friday, July 13, 2007

Please visit our new blog at:

No more articles will be added here.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Our JULY 4th INTER-DEPENDENCE DAY celebration is on...

We will be in the large pavilion at Stewart Park. Set up is 4:30. Event starts at 5 pm.

We have plenty of meat and vegan grill items for our July 4th event, including vegan shish kabob with pepper, eggplant, wild oyster mushroom, onion, garlic in a cilantro chipotle marinade and various veggie burgers in addition to hamburger, hotdogs, and sausage. As well, we should have a pan of Roy's congrís (Cuban beans and rice).

If you can bring a dish to pass, we need salads and desserts.

In addition to Ellen Bernstein, there will be two caravanistas from Toronto, and one from Buffalo. There is a lot of experience that can be shared about life in Cuba and the effect of the U.S. blockade. As well, we will be taking about what Cuba has to teach us, as Ellen alluded to in her radio interview this morning.

We will also be discussing a proposed three-way sister city relationship involving Greater Ithaca; Cienfuegos, Cuba; and Kingston, Ontario.

We will conclude with video previews from three different films about Cuban doctors and their work around the work, and doctors from around the world who receive training at the Latin American School of Medicine.

This was an obvious choice given the recent release of Michael Moore's film Sicko, which opens tonight at Cinemopolis.
Ellen Bernstein was interviewed Tuesday morning by Dave Vieser on WHCU 870. She makes an interesting parallel with Iraq in regard to U.S. plans for transition in Cuba. 7 min : 47 sec 5.4 Mb.

click here

Monday, July 02, 2007

Action Alert: Pastors Aid For Cuba Detained At Canadian Border

Saturday, June 30, 2007

IFCO/Pastors for Peace Action Alert

Call your Senators and Representatives (202- 224-3121) and
Email Your Senators and
Representatives Now and Monday!

Please pass this on to your email lists and phone trees!

Homeland Security Officials "Detain" Medical Supplies Destined for Cuba at Maine/Québec Border Despite Earlier Successful Crossings Today With Five Tons of Medical Aid Collected by Canadians for Cuba.

The aid collected in Québec by the Caravane d'amitié Québec-Cuba and destined for maternity clinics and nursing homes in Cuba, included a breast pump for nursing mothers, stethoscopes, used eyeglasses, a Physicians Desk Reference (PDR) and surgical gowns.

Pastors for Peace spent six hours in a standoff with Homeland Security attempting to negotiate passage of the medical aid before the shipment was detained for thirty days to investigate it's security threat to the U.S.

According to Greg Pease, (207- 297-2554) the Homeland Security officer in charge, he received instructions not to permit anything in transit to Cuba into the U.S.

"This detention by Homeland Security is outrageous." said Rev. Lucius Walker, executive director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace. "While Cuba is offering full scholarships to U.S. students to study medicine in Cuba, the U.S. government is denying transit of such basic items as breast pumps and surgical gowns. Why does the Maine border patrol have and ax to grind over breast pumps and surgical gowns? The contradictions are incredibly mean-spirited."

"Actions like these illustrate even further the issues raised by Michael Moore's film SiCKO."

"This precious cargo, bound for Cuba was collected by Canadians who will link up with U.S. routes of the 18th Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan. We intend to deliver these supplies to Cuba." added Rev. Walker.

This holiday weekend is the launch of the Friendshipment Caravan. Earlier crossings today into the U.S. from Vancouver into Blaine, WA and Winnipeg into Pembina ND occurred without incident.

Fourteen routes will stop in 125 U.S. cities, collecting aid and speaking out against the 45 year blockade of Cuba by the U.S. Over the course of two weeks, the Caravan expects to collect 100 tons of medical aid for Cuba.

On July 17, the Caravan intends to cross the U.S. border into Reynosa, Mexico. In past years, U.S. officials have attempted to seize the humanitarian aid it carried. According to Rev. Walker, anything is possible this year, given the continued antagonism by the Bush administration towards Cuba.

More information about the Pastors for Peace Caravan can be found at: or contact Lucia Bruno at 347-423-4330 or 212 926-5757.

Monday, June 18, 2007

18th Pastors for Peace US-Cuba Friendshipment in Ithaca July 4th

We will be welcoming the Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba in Ithaca at Stewart Park, July 4th, 5 pm at the main pavilion. Grill items both meat and veggie and beverage will be provided. We ask that folks bring a dish to pass and make a contribution toward the caravan. A box of symbolic aid may be loaded on the caravan.

Ellen P. Bernstein, who has organized 16 Congressional delegations to Cuba as well as playing a major role in all of Pastors for Peace's historic Cuba work, will be our featured speaker.

RSVP Cris McConkey 607/387-9830

Los Zafiros–Music from the Edge of Time

Take this opportunity to hear and learn about fabulous Cuban music--
of course the US State Department would rather you didn't, so what better reason to be sure to be there??? :)

Also, you'll hear about local efforts to establish a sister city relationship between Ithaca and Cienfuegos Cuba.

Cornell Cinema presents
Los Zafiros: Music from the Edge of Time

Monday, June 18 at 8pm
Wednesday, June 20 at 8pm

Willard Straight Theatre

" appealing mix of artistry, nostalgia and unspoken political overtones...a musical, historical & emotional odyssey." (Variety)

directed by Lorenzo DeStefano
Music, history, and emotion fuel this dynamic, award-winning tribute to Los Zafiros, a band that was coming together in the tough district of Cayo Hueso in Havana at the same time John, Paul, George and Ringo were forming the Beatles in Liverpool in the early 1960s. Playing a brilliant mix of American inspired Doo Wop and traditional Latin forms, they became a sensation in Cuba and beyond before dissolving in the mid 1970s from the effects of the fast life, infighting and changing political and musical tastes. Thirty years after their breakup, the two surviving band members, multiple-Grammy winner and Buena Vista Social Club alumnus Manuel Galbán, and the group's co-founder, Miguel Cancio, reunite in the streets of present-day Havana, a place full of unforgettable songs and memories for them and for their still-loyal fans. Evocative archival films and recordings of the group are interwoven with newsreel footage that vividly parallels the Los Zafiros story with life in Cuba at the height of the Cold War. Engaging performance footage and original interviews help family members, fellow artists, and friends create a stirring and definitive portrait of The Sapphires for a whole new audience.

More at

Cosponsored with the Cuba Friendship Group of Greater Ithaca

For more information call (607) 255-3522 or visit

Monday, April 16, 2007

Cancelled-Cuba friendship mtg

Hi Folks - We need to cancel the Cuba Friendship Group of Greater Ithaca meeting on creating a sister city with Cienfuegos for tomorrow April 17th because of the storm. Our guests from Canada and Pittsburgh are not able to travel here.

We'll schedule the meeting for a different, hopefully a more weather-friendly time. Stand by!

Peace, Kathy Russell

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Lisa Valanti featured speaker on Tuesday, April 17
Ithaca Unitarian Church annex, 208 E. Buffalo St.

Due to a room scheduling conflict, THERE WILL BE NO BEANS&RICE/POTLUCK dinner meeting at the Unitarian Church in April. But, we WILL BE MEETING AT 7 PM for a very important program with Lisa Valanti, president of the US–Cuba Sister Cities Association.

Scenes from Cienfuegos, the province where we would be have a sister community, will be part of her presentation.

Because of the travel restrictions, specifically the repeal of licenses for people-to-people licenses under the Bush administration (dare I say the criminalization of travel?), we might opt to have initial meetings with our counteparts in Cienfuegos in Kingston, Ontario. Kingston has is a sister city with Cienfuegos. The idea of a three-way sister city exchange is particularly intriguing, but is very much ahead of the game at this point.

Lisa suggests four areas for sister cities to work on once people-to-people exchanges, which were repealed by the Bush administration, are restored. They correspond to areas of health and education where Cuba has been particularly strong:

1. study of the literacy campaign and the successful 'Si, se puede' model Cuba has used in many countries of the world, including a recent English program in Jamaica.

2. continuing work w/ Pastors around the Latin American School of Medicine

3. study of the 'school of social work' where disaffected street kids are trained and paid to do community social work, including interviewing residents in their neighborhoods to report on problems folks are experiencing in regard to services that are wanting or lacking.

4. sistering with arts schools --including dance, plastic arts, and music.

These are four areas which she thinks that sister cities can be particularly effective. However, she emphasizes that sister city is an open framework, and she cites many examples from sister restaurants to sister swamps.

In addition, we will be showing clips from the documentary Los Zafiros http:// and discussing a the film's debut in Ithaca and offer of the producer to allow a sister city fund raising event around the movie.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Film Screening — Ithaca Premier


Tuesday, March 20, 7 pm
Ithaca Unitarian Church
Buffalo & Aurora Sts
Ithaca, NY

Movie will be preceded by dish-to-pass dinner (beans & rice always provided)and meeting at 6 pm in the annex of the Unitarian Church, 208 E. Buffalo St.


Find out what puts Cuba on the map in the quest for global health …
For more info on this film and to watch the trailer:

Co-sponsored by Cuba Friendship Group of Greater Ithaca, Durland Alternatives Library, and Social Justice Council First Unitarian Society of Ithaca