Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Welcome to Cuba, Lucius Walker, Forevermore!

July 22, 2011

Welcome to Cuba, Lucius Walker, forevermore!

Lucius Walker’s ashes will repose in Cuba, fulfilling the pastor’s final request

Throughout its history, and still today, Cuba is a place that attracts, engenders love and enchants. In many instances, it draws people to commit themselves to its destiny, its fate and world view. This had been its good fortune.

There have been many foreigners from all over the world who have enriched the history of Cuba in diverse areas. Some took up arms and shed their blood in its struggle for freedom. Others defended the country with ideas and devoted their humanistic, scientific, philosophical and political thinking to support its cause.

An undying love bound, and binds, these sons and daughters of other lands to Cuba, which has always made itself an object of affection given its people and the enchantment of its exceptional natural environment. To be found on this list of individuals are great figures and common men and women, many of whom became a definitive part of the essential core which sustains the Cuban nation. Many have enriched Cuba’s prolific universal heritage with their legacies. It matters little if their efforts were grand or small, of fundamental importance is that the contributions of all have been incorporated into the Cuban people’s culture, nature and way of life.

It is therefore only just that the Cuban people give thanks, today and everyday, for all the solidarity and defense Cuba has received and receives, since as José Martí affirmed, "To all who love her, I say with a great shout: brother! And I have no other brothers beyond those who love her."

There are two good citizens of the United States, of the present era, to whom Cubans will always offer our gratitude and carry in our hearts, the recently deceased Leonard Weinglass, defense lawyer for the Cuban Five, and Reverend Lucius Walker.

In the case of Lucius Walker, an Afro-American and church pastor, because he was able to challenge his country’s unjust laws and regulations directed against Cuba, like those enforcing the blockade which have been deemed genocidal, and which exposed him and his supporters to severe sanctions ranging from prison terms of several years to extremely large fines.

Lucius, along with his collaborators, faced all of this with the valor and integrity of a true Christian. This honorable man held the conviction that the friendship and solidarity of his people with ours was a cause worth any risk whatsoever. He dreamed of the day, be it close at hand or a long time coming, when relations between the people of the United States and Cuba would be inspired by and based on worthy sentiments which his spirit and religious beliefs allowed him to consider realistic and achievable through a sustained peaceful struggle of civil disobedience and acts of fraternal solidarity. The first requirement, if this dream is to become a reality, is the capacity to dream, and the second perseverance – pursuing the dream until it is accomplished.

Like hard-working bees collecting nectar, participants in the 22nd Pastors for Peace Caravan traveled to distant cities scattered across the U.S. gathering humanitarian aid from the people, keeping alive the initiative begun by Lucius in 1992 with the mission of promoting friendship between the peoples of Cuba and the United States and ending the economic, financial and commercial U.S. blockade of Cuba.

This time, the Caravan’s arrival in Havana was not physically led by Lucius, proud and smiling upon reaching the country with his solidarity and aid, along with the generous, stoic group which always accompanied him. He will, however, always be present spiritually and within the love of every participant who may come to Cuba.

A reencounter with his spirit, his remains and his memory will take place here, as members of the Caravan present a tribute to Lucius and place the urn containing his ashes in a spot on Cuban soil specially chosen as its final resting place. He will be received and honored as an immortal son, for his merits and exceptional humanist work.

Lucius has died but he will continue to live in the work of the organization Pastors for Peace. He individually, and the group as a whole, deserves and should be awarded, a Nobel Peace Prize, given the concrete, relevant work carried out. But there are prizes greater than the Nobel, awarded by the conscience and hearts of peoples, not expressed monetarily, but through eternal gratitude and remembrance.

Lucius was born August 3, 1930 and died September 7, 2010, at 80 years of age, in New York. He was a tireless fighter for the just and noble causes of Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. And since the Cuban Five were sentenced to prison, he has been a mainstay in the defense of René, Gerardo, Ramón, Fernando and Antonio, working tenaciously for their freedom as he had previously worked for the return to Cuba of the child Elián González.

The final tribute to Lucius in his country took place September 17, when hundreds of people from around the United States gathered in a Baptist Church in Harlem.

Since the arrival of his ashes in Cuba he has been honored in our land as he deserves - a process which will culminate July 31 at the final resting place of his remains.

After a full life, like the one Lucius lived, of solidarity and humanitarian aid offered with the passion and imagination of an artist, with dreams of building a bridge of friendship and peace between the people of the United States and others around the world, especially Cuba, he is, once and for all, among us.

Lucius Walker has died and the time has come to preserve his life by continuing his work and following his example. For all that he did for Cuba and for his love of Cuba, we say: WELCOME TO CUBA, LUCIUS WALKER, NOW AS A SON FOREVERMORE!

(Taken from CubaDebate)

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