Pastors for Peace is a special ministry of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), and was created in 1988 to pioneer the delivery of humanitarian aid to Latin America and the Caribbean. Pastors for Peace offers concerned US citizens an opportunity to demonstrate and enact an alternative people-to-people foreign policy based in justice and mutual respect. We have organized dozens of Pastors for Peace Caravans to various countries delivering life-giving aid, and organizing at home for a more just policy toward our neighbors in the hemisphere.
A brief history
In 1988, a regularly scheduled passenger ferryboat travelling along the Rio Escondido (Hidden River) in southern Nicaragua was brutally attacked by contra forces recruited and armed by the US government. An IFCO study delegation lead by IFCO Founder, the Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr. and our current Executive Director Gail Walker, was on that ferry, along with 200 Nicaraguan civilians. Two were killed and 29 were wounded in the attack – including Rev. Walker. In response to that brutal act of terrorism, Rev. Walker prayed for a non-violent response and conceived a new project that he named Pastors for Peace. The aims of the project are twofold: to deliver material aid to support the victims of so-called “low intensity” war in Latin America and to initiate education and advocacy projects to campaign for a more just and moral US foreign policy in our hemisphere.
Since our founding, thousands of people have participated in caravans, delegations and work brigades to Mexico, Central America and most recently Cuba.
Each caravan is an endeavor of love rooted in social justice. It’s a huge project linking people, vehicles and humanitarian aid. Caravans travel on different routes throughout the US and Canada from north to south, ending up together at the Texas border with Mexico, and then moving ahead to their destination country.
Connecting Communities in the Struggle for Social and Economic Justice
Through its Pastors for Peace project, IFCO has organized humanitarian aid caravans to countries across Central America and the Caribbean in support of communities and non-governmental organizations that were working for peace with justice and dignity.
En route to delivering urgently needed material aid, the caravans traveled through US cities to raise awareness about the effects of US foreign policy. The caravans serve as an alternative people-to-people foreign policy aimed at supporting self-determination and sustainable development. Our hope is that the caravans will serve as an example to our own government, to abandon policies that discourage or actively suppress grassroots movements for progressive social change.
Between 1988 and 1992 Pastors for Peace successfully organized dozens of caravans of humanitarian aid to Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Chiapas, Mexico.
In 1992 Pastors for Peace began organizing Friendshipment caravans to Cuba. We invite you to join us to learn more about the reality of Cuba, where we dispel common myths portrayed by the US media, interact with Cuban people and experience the way of life in Cuba.