Here is a slightly edited statement issued by the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization. Workers World congratulates IFCO on this victory over U.S. government harassment, especially because of IFCO’s important work in support of revolutionary Cuba. WW celebrates the beginning of Cuba’s 61st year as a liberated, independent country working to establish socialism. On Jan. 1, 1959, Comandante Fidel Castro and a guerilla force, including Ernesto “Che” Guevara, entered Havana, marking the triumph of the first stage of the Cuban revolution. We also celebrate the fifth anniversary of the freeing of the Cuban Five — Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González and René González — Cuban patriots imprisoned by the U.S. government for actions defending Cuba; the last were finally freed in December 2014.
Victory! After a 10-year historic struggle against unprecedented [Internal Revenue Service] harassment, we’ve won! The IRS finally conceded and reinstated our 501c(3) non-profit status.
We want to thank all of you who helped make this IFCO victory possible.
In the words of our attorney, this reinstatement is a clear vindication of IFCO’s principled stand to serve as a fiscal sponsor of the Viva Palestina project that provided desperately needed medical aid for the beleaguered people of Gaza.
The IRS concession absolves our righteous decision to stand in solidarity with the people of Cuba and to engage in prayerful civil disobedience of the U.S. government’s unjust and criminal blockade of the island nation.
This ruling justifies our steadfast commitment to defend the rights of the disenfranchised, the wrongly imprisoned, and the victims of police brutality.
In the last 10 years, we’ve never let the powers that be stop our life-giving work:
- Challenging the immoral U.S. blockade of Cuba and unconstitutional U.S. travel restrictions with our solidarity caravans and delegations – and winning;
- Supporting the work of sister progressive organizations from Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees to South Bronx Unite, from the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition to the Campaign to End Sanctions;
- Administering the US/ELAM [Latin American Medical School] scholarship program that has graduated nearly 200 U.S. doctors who are now working in underserved communities across the U.S. (For more information: ifconews.org/medical-school.)
Ever since [its founding in] 1967, IFCO has been saying “NO” to injustice. Ever since 1967, IFCO has been attacking and exposing the systems which cause racism, hunger and suffering – both in the U.S. and throughout the world.
Support and words of encouragement have allowed us:
- To keep sending young people to study medicine in Cuba, to mentor them during their seven years of study and after they return home to practice in underserved communities;
- To keep organizing Caravans to Cuba — we’ve already begun the work for next spring’s Caravan — 10 routes in 50 cities around the U.S. , [with] travel to Cuba next summer;
- To organize delegations to travel throughout the year to have deep discussions and insightful visits to learn about specific areas of Cuban life and culture: health care, education, religion, farming, incarceration, the justice system and more;
- To work with others to organize against U.S.-sponsored sanctions — a form of warfare designed to harm children, the sick, the aging — warfare waged against the most vulnerable people in a country.
For more information on IFCO programs: ifconews.org.