European unions call on EU to abandon policy on Cuba

Campaign News | Tuesday, 28 February 2006

Delegates from 20 countries pledge to break blockade

Havana 28 Feb: More than 270 union leaders belonging to 65 organizations from 20 countries met in London over the weekend during the First European Trade Union Solidarity Conference with Cuba and Latin America.

The meeting was called by the British Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Solidarity with Cuba Campaign.

During the plenary sessions and seminars, several members from the Cuban delegation, headed by Pedro Ross Leal, general secretary of the Cuban Workers Federation (CTC) , denounced the real intentions of US president Bush’s Program for Transition in Cuba. They pointed to the double standards of the European Union and Parliament in their discriminatory and selective policy against Cuba that tacitly supports the interventionist plans of the US administration.

The conference also denounced the unjust imprisonment in the US of the Cuban Five and called for a general mobilization of solidarity to obtain their immediate freedom.

The general secretaries of the TUC and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Brendan Barber and John Monks respectively, called upon the European Union to establish a new and independent relation with Cuba, based on respect and the principles of free self-determination and the sovereignty of nations. At the same time, they noted the need for European labor unions to prioritize solidarity with Cuban and Latin American governments that, as is the case with Venezuela and Bolivia, represent a hope for all peoples including Europeans who are victims of neoliberal policies, today applied on a universal scale.

Several of the speakers, including Miguel Angel Martinez, the Spanish deputy to the European parliament, denounced the servility of the European Parliament and its political alignment with US policies.

At the conference, held at London City Hall, the city’s mayor Ken Livingston addressed the union representatives present emotionally speaking of Cuba’s social achievements and solidarity with all the oppressed peoples of the world.

London, Feb 26 (Prensa Latina) Union leaders from 20 countries have demanded Sunday the European Union (EU) to stop supporting the US aggressive policy on Cuba.

The 1st European Trade Union Solidarity Conference with Cuba and Latin America, held in London, also denounced the unfair imprisonment of five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters in US jails, and called to stage a rally for their release.

The meeting was attended by over 270 union leaders from 65 organizations worldwide, responding to a summons by the TUC, the British Labour Federation, and the Campaign of Solidarity with Cuba in Great Britain.

Members of the Cuban delegation, led by the island?s Labour Federation general secretary Pedro Ross, said the double standard of the EU and its Parliament are in collusion with Washington?s hostile policy.

Several participants signed the letter sent to the US Attorney General, which was already inked by over 100 British MPs, key British trade union leaders and Nobel Literature Prizewinner Harold Pinter, demanding freedom for the Cuban Five.

The objective of the conference was to start the process of building a European wide trade union solidarity netwoirk to defeat the US maneouvres against the island.

Speakers at the conference included: 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.

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