Pastors for Peacecaravans to Chiapas

HIDALGO, Texas (AP) — A group known for trying to transport caravans of aid to Cuba and Central America headed to this border city Tuesday on a mission to deliver supplies to the war-torn Mexican state of Chiapas.
About 20 members of the Minneapolis-based Pastors for Peace planned to cross the border into Reynosa, Mexico, on Tuesday evening, said Peggy Hopson Diaz, the group’s national co-coordinator.
The caravan, which originated in Seattle and Maine, consists of five trucks carrying 15 tons of aid, including food and school and medical supplies, Ms. Hopson Diaz said.
The group plans to spend about a week in Chiapas distributing the supplies to indigenous communities affected by the 2-year-old uprising of the Zapatista National Liberation Army.
A delegation of about 10 members then will head to Guatemala to discuss future caravans with community leaders in that country, Hopson Diaz said.
The caravan is the fourth to Chiapas since the group began its humanitarian missions in 1988, she said. Last August, the organization delivered 12 tons of aid there.
Romeo Escobar, chief inspector for the U.S. Customs Service in Hidalgo, said the organization caused no problems for U.S. officials on its last mission and he didn’t expect any trouble this time.
“They went through very peacefully — no problem,” Escobar said.
But previous missions haven’t always been peaceful. Earlier this year at the California border, an attempt by the organization to deliver computers to Cuba ended with a dozen arrests, five injuries and about 325 computers seized by U.S. Customs agents.
In July 1993, caravan members were blocked for 15 days from sending a school bus to Cuba through the Customs port at Laredo and went on a hunger strike until the U.S. government relented.