Noah just popped into my head as I looked out the window.
He's a slender young white man with a trimmed black beard and matching hair. Probably has about five percent body fat. I met him the other night. He's from Canada, one of the drivers delivering goods to Cuba via nine buses. They're taking nine routes in the US and visiting 90 cities.
His point of view as a Canadian was interesting, a revelation about the difference in US and Canadian government attitude toward Cuba. He compared last year, this year and the years before about crossing the border with goods for Cuba. At first the US just waved them through. Then they asked for a bond but refused to return the bond.
Last year, US Homeland Security decided the medical supplies being brought down to the US from Canada were for resell. Noah found that hilarious. Prescription drugs, maybe, but medical equipment? Is there really a big black market for that in America?
This year Homeland Security said that the Caravan couldn't pass because they had sporting equipment they planned to resell in the US. Noah estimated less than two percent of the gear was sports equipment. All of it was donated and most of it was used, mostly basketball, hockey, soccor and baseball gear.
But the Caravan was ready. They were escorted by protestors. Protestors were on the US side, waiting to arrive. And they had a media strategy. Once the US said, "You Shall Not Pass," the Caravan swung into action. The demonstrations began. The media was called.
The press showed up the next morning. By noon, less than twenty-fours after being detained, Homeland Security had changed its mind. "Go ahead, you can pass, just fill in this paperwork." Noah estimated the stack as about an inch thick.
So they began to complete it, doing so very leisurely, asking questions about the questions and fields as the press gathered outside and the demonstrations continued. After a few minutes of that, Homeland Security said, you know, you don't need to fill that out after all. Just go. Have a nice day.
Noah had great passion about his mission and a gentle, joyful humor. I admire him and his efforts to help Cuba and change America's mind about its relationship with Cuba.
Safe passages to all of them.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com