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No computers for Cuba

While the U.S. House of Representatives was voting for the controversial Central American Free Trade Agreement, 43 boxes of Cuba-bound computer equipment seized by U.S. Customs officials at the Mexico border on July 22 still had not been returned to Pastors for Peace.

The group, which had transported 140 tons of humanitarian aid across the border in Hildago when Customs nabbed the boxes, has long challenged the U.S.' economic embargo and its ban on travel to the Communist country, which is not part of CAFTA. Although Americans can travel to Cuba with special educational and humanitarian licenses issued by the Treasury Department, last year President Bush announced new, more stringent restrictions on those licenses as well as tighter law enforcement to prevent people from taking money or other supplies, including aid, to Cuba.

Pastors for Peace encountered a similar seizure in 1996 when it was taking computer equipment for hospitals into Mexico en route to Cuba. Some group members went on a 93-day hunger strike, and U.S. Customs officials allowed the boxes through.

Van Os vies for Attorney General

David Van Os, who ran unsuccessfully for Texas Supreme Court in 2004, has declared his candidacy for the state's attorney general. The San Antonio Democrat has tapped the Reverend Peter Johnson, who worked for the Congress for Racial Equality and the Southern Leadership Conference in the '60s, to be his campaign chairman. If no other Democrat runs in the primary Van Os will face Republican incumbent Greg Abbott in the November 2006 race.

In other election news, Democrats have yet to field a challenger to District 23 U.S. Representative Henry Bonilla, while two Republicans are battling for the party nomination for the District 20 seat currently held by Democrat Charlies Gonzalez. Robert Sanchez, a teacher, or Roger Scott, who last year filed a police report against Gonzalez for allegedly squeezing his arm during a KLRN candidates' debate, will likely run against the four-term incumbent.

- Lisa Sorg



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