The Common Good
July-August 1996

Fasting for Life

by Julienne Gage, Aaron McCarroll Gallegos | July-August 1996

“Anything worth living for is worth dying for,” Brian Rohatyn told The Washington Post concerning his fast with Pastors for Peace on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

“Anything worth living for is worth dying for,” Brian Rohatyn told The Washington Post concerning his fast with Pastors for Peace on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

On January 31, Pastors for Peace attempted to take 325 used computers across the Mexican border from San Diego to be donated to Cuban hospitals, in intentional violation of the U.S. economic embargo. Pastors for Peace members were arrested and their computers confiscated. Thirty-five to 40 more computers were confiscated on February 17 when the action was attempted again. All 375 computers at the San Diego border were released in May.

While most Pastors for Peace fasters continued their protest through May 24, Rohatyn ended his 87-day strike earlier when the U.S. Treasury Department agreed to release 21 of the 325 computers. Those released were Canadian computers (minus their keyboards and monitors) and therefore Rohatyn, a Canadian citizen, agreed to end his fast as a “good faith measure” toward members of U.S. Congress working on a resolution. Rev. Lucius Walker, Lisa Valenti, and Jim Clifford ended their fast when the remaining computers were released on May 24.

While there are still 35 computers held up at the Highgate, Vermont border crossing, Pastors for Peace is pressuring for their release, and the United Methodist Board of Church and Society is requesting that the Treasury Department allow all the computers to be taken into Cuba for humanitarian aid in hospitals.

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