Obama vs. Cuban workers

In the past few years, President Obama has been critical of free trade agreements that do not protect workers' rights.  We recall how he praised the workers' rights guarantees in the Panama, Colombia, and Korea agreements that he signed in 2011.

New York governor Cuomo is down in Cuba on some trade mission.  Let's hope he takes an interest in a couple of issues happening this week regarding freedom and workers' rights.

First, it was another bad week for repression in Cuba, as reported by our friends at Capitol Hill Cubans:

Yesterday, over 60 members of Cuba's Ladies in White and other democracy activists were arrested in Havana.

They were carrying images of current Cuban political prisoners.

Castro regime officials confronted and arrested them with great violence.

Second, foreign businesses will not be allowed to hire their own workers directly, as reported by Frank Calzon:

▪ Investing in Cuba requires a joint venture with the Castro government (the Castro family and the regime’s elite).
▪ Minimal requirements before risking shareholders’ capital should include the sanctity of contracts, the rule of law, and the ability to bring disputes before independent courts.
▪ Raúl Castro came to power in 2006. Despite what cheerleaders for his economic “reforms” say, they amount to a lot less than they claim. Many Cubans say they’re a sham. Oswaldo Payá, the leader of Cuba’s Christian Liberation Movement, denounced them as fraud. He was murdered when his car was run off the road by Cuban police. The government refuses to turn over the autopsy report to his family.
▪ The regime does not allow foreign companies to hire their workers; instead, they’re provided by the government. Investors pay thousands of dollars per worker to the government, which then pays the workers $30 or $40 a month, in violation of international labor agreements.
Obama's Cuban policy is based on the misconception that full diplomatic relations and American trade will bring about respect for human rights and an economic breakthrough. But in fact he will be implementing a policy that has failed as long as the embargo: the Europeans’ policy of engagement. That policy has had absolutely no beneficial impact on the rights of Cubans.
Read more here.

Is this the country that he wants New Yorkers to do business with?  Where are the labor leaders of the U.S.?

President Obama told us in December that we had to change our policy because the past one was not working.  Unfortunately, the new Obama approach has not required the Cuban government to treat its citizens at all differently.

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