We do not want to think of a world without Lucius Walker
Aida Calviac Mora
THE irony of the blow has shaken us all: when the threat of nuclear war hovers over our heads, one of the irreplaceable men of peace has left us, after 80 years of sincere example. The death has taken place of Lucius Walker, the
Fidel greets the leader of Pastors
Armed with faith and resistance, anchored to noble causes and social justice, Lucius arrived in this country in spite of the detentions and blows from those who have always feared Cuban realities being revealed and divulged.
Prior to that, he left his mark of solidarity on liberation movements in Africa, on support missions to patriots in
"On August 2, 1988, my daughter Gail and I were among 200 civilians on a boat on the River
Finally, this island captured his attention. In 1991, during a time of a deluge of lies about the Revolution, countdowns and apocalyptic predictions, a conversation with in
In an interview given to Granma the following year,
In 1992 the news that a group of religious people had toured several American states in and organized a fleet of 45 vehicles in which to send medicines, school supplies, and food to Cuba, an action considered by the U.S. authorities to be an insult more than an act of "civil disobedience."
The pilgrimage through at least 90 cities would reach its tensest moment when the caravan reached
Neither intimidating warnings nor manhandling by more than one agent of the Treasury Department or Customs had any effect.
Lucius Walker’s men and women, following their leader’s determination, held fast in their will to take everything across the border into Mexico and not just the part allowed by U.S. legislation, knowing that the violation of the blockade could cost them fines of up to $250,000 and 10 years’ incarceration, risks that they decided to take.
Some members of the caravan crossed the border on foot, carrying over to the Mexican side those products which the regulations did not consider humanitarian aid. Among them, a wheelchair which Lucius, the first to cross, carried with a sign demanding: "Let
That first step across the border bridge led to his detention for 10 hours, but the die was already cast.
1993 was the year of the second caravan, and the obstacles, far from diminishing, once again tested his firmness and stand as a man of faith.
This time the customs agents confiscated a little yellow school bus on the strange pretext that it might be used to transport Cuban troops, and several members of the caravan responded with a prolonged fast, despite high temperatures in Laredo – more than 100 degrees – making their hunger strike more dangerous. Lucius Walker was once again the moral guide and example. The letter that he sent to President William Clinton, written on the thirteenth day of the fast, confirmed that: "Our determination to continue defending the rights of the poor and the dispossessed to receive religious and medical aid, without interference from the government, is not negotiable."
The yellow bus, liberated after 22 days of hunger strike, became a symbol of the combative spirit of the Reverend who, a few years later in 1996, led a similar fast for more than 90 days to demand the return of 395 computers taken by force from Caravan members.
Lucius was awarded the Carlos J. Finlay Order for the contribution of that equipment to modernize our health system; an honor bestowed on him by Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro, who declared on that occasion, "Ethics, moral values and faith cannot be destroyed."
In addition to the Friendshipment Caravans, in the wake of Fidel’s humanitarian initiative to make it possible for youth from this continent and other nations to study at Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine, more than 100 youth from the poorest neighborhoods in the United States – under the coordination of Lucius Walker – are training to become doctors in Cuba and a number of them have already graduated.
More than 20 caravans have reached this land with their moral and material cargoes, and Pastors for Peace – which reflects in good measure the composition of the U.S. population – has contributed to introducing into the social psychology of part of that population the need to fight the blockade and for both countries to find a constructive rapprochement. According to its leader, "Whatever we do is, in the first place, a response to the love which
In gratitude, we Cubans would have to say that we do not want to think of a world without Lucius Walker.
Translated by Granma International