BRUNSWICK — A July 3 sendoff is planned for a group of Mainers headed to Cuba to distribute humanitarian aid. 

The gathering will honor Maria Cron of Portland and her college-age daughters, Heather and Crystal.

Let Cuba Live, a Maine-based group dedicated to stopping the United States’ 50-year embargo of Cuba and standing by the Cuban people, is organizing the event. Music and refreshments will be provided from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the gazebo on Main Street.

Once a year, Let Cuba Live sends a group of people to Cuba with the Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan.

“We send medical and educational supplies and people to be our ambassadors,” said Barbara West, who helped found Let Cuba Live in the early 1990s. “If the governments can’t talk to each other, at least we can.”

The Crons will drive to McAllen, Texas, to meet the other volunteers and cross the Mexico border with the supplies. After putting the cargo on a freighter, the group will fly to Cuba.


But traveling to and aiding Cuba without permission is a violation of U.S. law. “We don’t ask first,” said West. “It’s a direct legal challenge. Every year they decide not to prosecute us, but the government has made things pretty difficult.”

West said the goal is to change the blockade policies that have gotten progressively worse over the past few decades and help Cubans survive in the meantime. “Unless you believe it’s possible, there’s not a whole lot of point in working for change,” she said.

All of the donated goods, which include everything from medications to bicycle parts, will be loaded onto vehicles at the event. “We’ll hear a few words from the women that are going,” said West. “It’ll be a celebration for them.”

Information about the gathering is available online at


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