US allows Canadian aid for Cuba to pass through

National Capitol building in Havana, Cuba. A truckful of humanitarian aid from Canada is now bound for Cuba after U.S. customs officials finally granted it entry into the United States. Photo by: Lyman Erskine / CC BY

A truckful of humanitarian aid from Canada is now bound for Cuba after U.S. customs officials finally granted it entry into the United States.

U.S. customs officials initially prevented the truck, which is part of an annual Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba organized by Canadian aid groups, from crossing Sunday (July 1) into the United States for undisclosed reasons, says The Province, a local newspaper in British Columbia. Organizers eventually secured entry Monday (July 2) after protesting outside a border gate.

The aid package includes medical supplies, educational materials, wheelchairs and sports equipment. Janine Solanki of the British Columbia Aid Network said this package would be carried through the United States to Mexico, from where they would be shipped to Cuba. 

Solanki said they did not receive explanations from U.S. customs officials as to why the aid truck was held up and eventually let through.

The United States has complicated aid relations with the Caribbean nation, on which it has also imposed economic sanctions. The Western country supports some democracy-related initiatives in Cuba, but funding for these is often a hot topic in the U.S. Congress.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.