Cuba solidarity activist Lucius Walker dies

Latin America solidarity activist Rev. Lucius Walker, 80, died of a heart attack on Sept. 7 at his home in Demarest, New Jersey. Walker, a Baptist minister, was also active in the US civil rights movement; in 1967 he founded the New York-based Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO).

Walker was wounded in eastern Nicaragua in 1988 when US-backed contra rebels attacked a boat in which he was traveling with a fact-finding delegation; two civilians were killed in the attack. (Reuters reported in error that the attack was by government soldiers and that the US backed the Nicaraguan government.) Walker stepped up his solidarity work after the attacks, founding Pastors for Peace and leading 21 “Friendshipment” caravans to take humanitarian aid to Cuba. He also organized caravans to Central America and to the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, and in 1999 he led the first US delegation to meet with Lori Berenson, a US citizen imprisoned for leftist activities in Peru.

On Sept. 8 Ricardo Alarcón, president of Cuba’s National Assembly, called Walker an “insuperable example of solidarity and love of one’s neighbor.” Alarcón, who knew Walker from his time serving as a diplomat in New York, said the minister’s “life was an authentic realization of the true Christian spirit.” (La Jornada, Mexico, Sept. 8, from correspondent; Prensa Latina, Sept. 8; New York Times, Sept. 12, from Reuters)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Sept. 12.

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