From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Fast for Life continues

Date 02 May 1996 22:28:54

"UNITED METHODIST DAILY NEWS" by SUSAN PEEK on Aug. 11, 1991 at 13:58 Eastern,

Note 2948 by UMNS on May 2, 1996 at 16:53 Eastern (3923 characters).

SEARCH:   Pastors for Peace, fast, computers, Cuba, Campbell,
Produced by United Methodist News Service, official news agency of
the United Methodist Church, with offices in Nashville, Tenn., New
York, and Washington.

  UMNS stories may be accessed on the Internet World Wide Web at:

Contact:  Joretta Purdue                       234(10-32-71){2948}
          Washington, D.C.  (202) 546-8722             May 2, 1996

Fast to free medical aid for Cuba
enters 72nd day as support grows

     WASHINGTON (UMNS) -- In the 72nd day of their "fast for
life," four people are in wheelchairs here May 2 as they continue
fasting to free computers for Cuban churches and health systems
that were taken earlier by the U.S. government.
     Gaunt because each of the four have lost more than 20 percent
of their body weight, the three men and one woman listened to
several religious, public health and political leaders speak on
their behalf and on behalf of their cause on the U.S. Capitol
     Among those who spoke was the Rev. Joan Brown Campbell,
general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in
the U.S.A. (NCC), and the Rev. Thom White Wolf Fassett, general
secretary of the United Methodist Church's Board of Church and
     Saying the NCC has opposed the Cuban embargo for many years,
Campbell termed the embargo on Cuba an "inhuman blockage"
primarily imposed for domestic political reasons. She called on
President Clinton to guide the nation "beyond retribution" by
following the guidance of Jesus Christ.
     Fassett conveyed the news of a resolution passed April 26 by
the United Methodist General Conference. It seeks release of the
medical computers and supplies, expresses support for the people
fasting, and asks President Clinton to enter into conversations
and negotiations with Cuba.
     The 400 used computers were enroute to Cuba via Mexico, when
they were seized Jan. 31 and Feb. 17, by a force of more than
1,000 officials, agents and police acting for the U.S. Treasury
     The computers were being carried by 400 volunteers trained in
non-violent techniques by Pastors for Peace, sponsor of the
shipment of donated equipment. The organization is part of the
Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, based in New
     Those fasting are being led by the Rev. Lucius Walker, 65,
pastor of Salvation Baptist Church in Brooklyn and founder of
Pastors for Peace.
     Others, who began their fast with Walker on Feb. 21 and moved
their tent to the grounds of the United Methodist Building in
Washington on April 3, are Lisa Valanti, 47, of Pittsburgh, Pa.;
Brian Rohatyn, 28, of Vancouver, B.C., Canada; and Jim Clifford,
37, of Louisville, Ky.
     Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), together with Reps. Esteban
Torres (D-Calif.), William J. Coyne (D-Pa.) and Sam Farr (D-
Calif.), expressed their desire for a new policy toward Cuba.
     The Rev. Lucius Walker spoke at length about the broad
coalition that share these views, including, he said, members of
both the Senate and the House, the majority of Cuban-Americans and
representatives of six Protestant denominations.
     Among those who spoke on behalf of the fasters was Dianne
Kuntz of the American Public Health Association, who expressed
grave concern for their health and the desire that the
humanitarian aid -- some that was donated by members of the
association -- be allowed to proceed to Cuba.
     Representatives from Cuban American National Alliance, Cuban-
American Committee for Peace, Cuban-American Research and
Education Fund, Alliance of the Cuban Community and Cambio Cubano
also spoke in support of lifting the embargo on Cuba and allowing
this aid to reach family members not seen in more than 30 years.
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