Skip right past that to the details:
- The half-century-old U.S. economic blockade against Cuba was broken in one small corner of the United States on June 30. Three groups of ordinary citizens had come together to defend Cuba’s right to set its own course.
That day a small truck and a car from Maine crossed the international border at Norton, Vt., to join 30 or so Quebecers at a brief solidarity gathering just north of the border. Together they then carried boxes of humanitarian aid material to the U.S. border station where they would be loaded onto the Mainers’ vehicles.
Did you get that? The license plates on the cars were from Maine.
The border crossing at Norton, Vermont is at US Highway 114. The road exits from Route 3 at North Stewartstown, New Hampshire, into a corner of Vermont and to the border crossing.
This is a small outpost along the border but not an insignificant one. Lumbering is big business in the Great North Woods and this is a busy route. I have crossed the border here and speak from experience.
Here is what PeoplesWorld.org further claims:
- U.S. officials knew that donated supplies were heading for Cuba and also that U.S. blockade rules were being violated, specifically those requiring licenses for humanitarian donations to Cuba. Nevertheless, after inspecting the boxes efficiently and amiably, the border officials let them pass. They joined in talking about the activists’ return to the border next year.
That no license was requested or obtained was intentional. People allied to the three groups are all rejecting U.S. regulations aimed at causing suffering in Cuba and policies seen throughout the world as illegal, immoral, and cruel. …
… At the gathering prior to the June 30 crossing, a Let Cuba Live spokesperson predicted that this crossing, like the two previous ones at Norton, would take place without incident. He explained that at crossings earlier at Highgate Springs, Vermont, and Coburn Gore, Maine, activists resisted border officials’ harassment and confiscation of aid material and vehicles. His suggestion was that authorities welcomed relief from the extra paperwork and slowdown of regular border traffic caused by confrontations.
If true, this brings up several questions about our border security. (Or the article’s writer is full of crap.)
Crossing from the U.S. to Canada is a fairly simple matter of answering the Canadian border officials’ questions regarding what one is or is not bringing into Canada, why you are going to Canada, and how long you plan to stay. The return crossing into the U.S. also faces a similar set of questions from U.S. border agents, including what you are bringing back into the U.S., where you have been, how long you have been in Canada, and your plans (destination) when you return to the U.S.
The article mentions the border crossings at Highgate Springs, Vermont, which is where I-89 ends at the border. I have crossed here, as well. Unlike Norton, Vermont, where a two-lane country road crosses the border, this is a large border crossing at the end of a heavily-traveled interstate highway. It is impossible to see how pro-Cuba activists could boldly cross if their true agenda were known.
Like Norton, Vermont, Coburn Gore, Maine (actually Jackman, Maine) is a small border outpost. I briefly visited Jackman once. There is not much there unless you are an outdoor sportsman. It is about 100 miles from Jackman to Quebec.
Although I did not cross the border at Jackman, it does not follow that border agents on either side of the border would be okay with activists openly defying U.S. law or that they would give them a pat on the back for their illegal act and say “see ya next year”.
The border agents are not that lax, not in my experience at least. You can be jovial but their job is serious and, in my experience, they take it seriously.
The rest of the article is likewise revealing:
- Maria Sanchez of Portland, Maine, lauded the international scope of resistance to the U.S. anti-Cuban blockade. Born in Peru, she noted that among Quebecers and Mainers on hand were those originating from several Latin American, European, and Middle Eastern countries. Sanchez and her two daughters joined the 2011 Pastors for Peace Friendshipment to Cuba.
Obviously, both the Canadian and U.S. border agents do not engage in racial profiling.
And you have to wonder if the activists shared their intention to violate U.S. law again when buses will take the gathered contraband from McAllen, Texas to Tampico, Mexico:
- Donated goods from Quebec and Maine went on to Boston on July 2 via a Let Cuba Live truck. At a Friendshipment send-off event there, they were loaded onto a Friendshipment bus that, along with other buses traveling south through the United States, will arrive in McAllen, Texas, on July 15. At solidarity sessions along the way, buses will take on people and aid material.
That is going to be one serious (conspicuous) convoy.
The article continues: “From McAllen, buses and supplies proceed to Tampico, Mexico, where they are put on board a ship bound for Cuba.”
Apparently, Mexican customs is down with this plan, as well.
It should also come as no surprise that the article’s author, W. T. Whitney Jr., is well-versed in these Mexico-to-Cuba activities. He has worked with the Cuba solidarity movement for 35 years and participated in the same Venceremos Brigade ventures to Cuba as did Weatherman leader, Bernardine Dohrn.