Solidarity conference in London to expose anti-Cuba myths

Campaign News | Friday, 13 January 2006

Cuba Solidarity Campaign Director, Rob Miller, previews a timely conference providing the chance to combat myths on Cuba

From the UK daily newspaper The Morning Star, Friday 13th January,2006

BRITAIN'S trade unions have long been strong supporters of Cuba. This February will see the latest show of solidarity when the first European trade union solidarity conference for Cuba will take place in London's City Hall.

It is being backed by 18 major British trade unions and the Trades Union Congress.

The conference will provide a forum to promote solidarity between European and Cuban trade unionists and will look at how European trade unions can work together to counter the US blockade, promote policies of dialogue, trade and good relations with Cuba.

It will also raise trade union, public and political awareness within Europe of the current situation in Cuba and new US threats towards the island.

The event has a key role to play, because, although the British trade union movement stands united and strong in its solidarity with Cuban workers and opposition to the blockade, this position is not held so firmly by all trade union organisations across Europe. Central de Trabajadores de Cuba trade union federation general secretary Pedro Ross stressed this in his message to the Cuba Solidarity Campaign meeting at the 2004 TUC Congress.

"Unfortunately, the European Union has given in to US pressures in relation to their policy towards Cuba.

"Even worse, there are some European trade union organisations that are supportive of

these policies, while others have become spokesmen of the distorted media campaigns against Cuba, preparing world public opinion for justifying future military intervention.

"The British initiative to hold a European trade union solidarity conference in London will be an exceptional opportunity among European and Cuban trade unionists to learn more about and reflect upon the threats of the hostile policy of the US and its allies within the European Union towards Cuba and to exchange our diverse experiences of support and solidarity towards the workers and Cuban people."

The European conference comes at an important time as the US is stepping up its international campaign against Cuba.

The European conference will help to build the broad-based support in defence of Cuba's

sovereignty that is so vital to to the Carribbean state and the people of Latin America.

Leonel Gonzalez, international relations secretary of the Cuban TUC the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba, says: "It is important that the TUC is sponsoring the event because the TUC is one of the most influential central trade union organisations in the world.

"Additionally, the fact that the conference will be in London and hosted by Mayor

Livingstone will also give it enormous prestige.

"We are certain it will be successful and have a huge impact. In fact, the two conferences

that the Cuba Solidarity Campaign has already organised of a bilateral nature in London have already produced results in the sense that unions in other parts of the world have been aware of them and have decided to organise similar initiatives. The European conference will do the same."

? The European trade union solidarity conference for Cuba takes place at City Hall, London, on February 24-5.

Speakers include: Central Trajabadores de Cuba general secretary Pedro Ross, London Mayor Ken Livingstone, European Trade Union Confederation general secretary John Monks, Spanish MEP Miguel Martinez Martinez, Oxfam Belgium director of mobilisation Xavier Declercq, Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) Oslo region president Kleiv Fiskvik, General Confederation of Portuguese Workers - National Intersindical (CGTP-IN) international secretary Florival Lanaa, CGT Mine-Energy Federation general secretary Frederic Imbrecht from France, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis, TUC president Gloria Mills, T&G national organiser Diana Holland, RMT general secretary Bob Crow, UNISON deputy general secretary Keith Sonnet and Filcams-Cgil national secretary Naurizio Scarpa from Italy.

Phone CSC campaigns manager Natasha Hickman on (020) 7263-6452 or email: for more details.

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