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Former V.P. Joe Biden launches his presidential campaign, warning that Trump is "a danger to the nation's character." Also on our Friday rundown: Six 2020 Dems to speak at a weekend forum in Vegas. Plus, thousands of Navajo homes get electricity for the first time.

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"Peace Caravan to Cuba" Stops in Massachusetts

July 6, 2009

JAMAICA PLAIN, Mass. - An interreligous foundation called the Pastors for Peace is sending a "Peace Caravan to Cuba" to bring humanitarian supplies to the needy there – regardless of the U.S. embargo. Before heading to Cuba, members of the organization make stops Tuesday night in Jamaica Plain and Wednesday evening in Northampton to discuss the caravan's mission, and the consequences of the embargo on the ordinary citizens of Cuba.

Pastors for Peace has been traveling to Cuba for the past 19 years in an effort to try to end what it sees as an immoral blockade. This year's group consists of some 100 people from the U.S., Canada and Mexico who will bring supplies that they collect from all over the country, according to Martin Schotz, a member of Newton-Cuba Solidarity who is joining the Caravan.

"They bring medical supplies that Cubans might be short of; computers, frequently, that people will donate that can be used in schools; bicycles – whatever people have that is of some value."

The U.S. embargo on Cuba has been in place in various forms since 1960; many supporters see it as the best way to way to pressure the Castro regime into becoming a democracy, but opponents, such as Schotz, say the embargo hurts innocent civilians.

"It is hurting the people, no question; it's hurting the Cuban economy, and I think the United States has not wanted people to realize that there is an alternative to what we're doing and the way we've been approaching problems."

President Obama has lifted certain travel restrictions with Cuba, but the broader U.S. trade embargo remains in place.

The Peace Caravan to Cuba will meet Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Spontaneous Celebrations in Jamaica Plain and will feature speakers, food and live music, as well as discussions about the group's mission and the effects of the embargo on the citizens of Cuba. Ensuing halt for the Caravan is Wednesday evening in Northampton. After visits to several cities, the group departs for Cuba at the end of July.

There's more information at

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - MA