April 2004
 

 

Violations of social and labor rights in Cuba, 2003

Federación Sindical de Plantas Eléctricas, Gas y Agua en el exilio. April 30, 2004

Introduction
Labor Leaders in Prison
II. Harassment of Labor Leaders, Supporters and Activists of the Independent Labor Movement
III. Politically-Motivated Discrimination in Employment
IV. The State of Social Security and the Retired Population
V. Working Conditions
VI. Freedom to Organize as It Appears in International
Legislation

INTRODUCTION

In the minutes of the 288th meeting of the International Labor Organization's Administrative Council held in Geneva in November 2003, there is an entry about Cuba under Case Number 2258. It reads:

Complaints against the Cuban government presented by:

  • International Confederation of Free Labor Organizations (Confederación Internacional de Organizaciones Sindicales Libres, CIOSL), and
  • Latin American Workers Central (Central Latinoamericana de Trabajadores, CLAT), the backing of the World Labor Confederation

Allegations: that the Cuban authorities admit to allowing only one central labor union controlled by the State and the Communist Party, and to thwarting the organization of independent labor unions, which are subjected to official hostility; that workers right to collective bargaining is not recognized; neither is their right to strike authorized by law; that there is systematic harassment and detention of labor activists, that they are threatened with penal sanctions, physically attacked, and their homes violated without search warrants; that independent labor leaders are tried and sentenced to long prison terms; that the property of independent labor groups is confiscated; that State Security has infiltrated informers in the independent labor movement.

Cuba's Independent Labor Movement is convinced about the need to continue monitoring all violations of social and labor rights committed by the Cuban authorities in collaboration with Cuba's official and only labor union, the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba with the endorsement of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. Thus, we submit the following report. It covers the various forms in which workers rights, as well as the rights of the self-employed in the informal economy and independent labor leaders, are violated in Cuba.

It is through the joint collaboration of several organizations that make up Cuba's independent labor movement that we are able to report to the International Labor Organization on the most flagrant violations of the rights of Cuban workers, through Federación Sindical de Plantas Electricas. It is our objective that the Cuban government be pressed to comply with and respect the conventions to which it is signatory.

We have organized this report in a way that will enable the reader to understand the reasons that prompt such violations, and to grasp how important it is for the international community to be aware of these violations.

I) LABOR LEADERS IN PRISON:

On March 18, 2003 Cuban State Security police arrested 75 civilian opposition activists, immediately after a national television broadcast of "Mesa Redonda" (Cuba's daily political round table) where the main guest was the president of Cuba's parliament, Ricardo Alarcón.

The arrests were made on grounds that the 75 dissidents were guilty of treason, a falsehood concocted by the Cuban government. The official text on the arrests states that they "were arrested by pertinent authorities and will be brought to justice."

Soon the 75 were brought to injustice. Summary trials were held and long prison sentences issued, amounting collectively to 1,500 years in prison. This assault on Cuba's nascent civil society included the arrest and trial of seven independent labor activists. The Cuban government accuses them of encouraging disorder and being agents of a foreign nation.

The only crime these activists have committed is the exercise of their right to organize free labor unions in accordance with Convention No. 87 which addresses the freedom of labor activism and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Below are the names of the seven labor activists arrested, and their sentences:

  • Nelson Molinet Espino
    Sentenced to 21 years in prison.
    He is Secretary General of the Cuban Confederation of Democratic Workers (Confederación de Trabajadores Democráticos de Cuba, CTDC).
    Confined at Kilo 8 prison in Pinar del Río province (75 miles from his home)
    Home address: Velázquez #3823, between Pasaje Rico and Cantera, Jacomino, San Miguel del Padrón, Ciudad de La Habana province.
    His wife, Kirenia Guerra Lugo, was hospitalized at Havana's Psychiatric Hospital with acute depression. It was learnt that she was treated with electroshock and drugs that have endangered her mental health. She was hospitalized again in February 2004 suffering from advanced psychological trauma. Her family fears for her future state of mind. The couple's little girl is staying with her paternal grandparents.
  • Miguel Galbán Fernández
    Sentenced to 26 years in prison
    Age: 39 years old.
    He is an independent journalist and assistant director of the National Training Center for Labor Rights and Union Organizing (Centro Nacional de Capacitación Sindical y Laboral, CNCSL).
    Serving his term at the Agüica Prison in Matanzas province (75 miles from his home).
    Home address: Calle 54 # 9914, between 99 and 103, Güines, La Habana province.
    He is physically handicapped as a result of a car accident. Confinement to a small humid cell, plus an existing bone condition known as osteochondroma, that affects his legs, is causing excruciating pain that, in his own words, "is unbearable". He is losing his hair; his vision is impaired; all his teeth are loose; and he is suffering from swelling of the liver. There is reason to fear for his life, given his fragile condition. He has been on hunger strike three times since his imprisonment.
  • Carmelo Díaz Fernández
    Sentenced to 16 years in prison
    Age: 66 years old.
    He is director of the independent Labor Press Agency, member of the executive committee of the United Workers Council of Cuba (Consejo Unitario de Trabajadores de Cuba, CUTC), and assistant director of the National Training Center for Labor Rights and Union Organizing (Centro Nacional de Capacitación Sindical y Laboral).
    Serving his term at the maximum security prison in Guanajay.
    Home address: Calle Vives #118-A between Aguila and Revillagigedo, Habana Vieja, Ciudad de La Habana province.
    Wife's name: Dulce María Amador Morales.
    Since sentencing, he has been hospitalized several times due to ulcers, circulatory complications, osteoarthritis (degenerative bone disease) and hypertension. He is also suffering from mange. He was transferred to the Combinado del Este prison hospital on February 21, where he remains hospitalized.
  • Pedro Pablo Alvarez Ramos
    Sentenced to 25 years in prison.
    Age: 56 years old.
    He is Secretary General of the United Workers Council of Cuba
    (Consejo Unitario de Trabajadores de Cuba, CUTC), a CLAT affiliate.
    Serving his sentence at the Canaleta Prison in Ciego de Avila (263 miles from his home).
    Home address: Carlos III #809 Apt. 10 second floor, between Retiro and Placencia, Centro Habana, Ciudad de La Habana province.
    Wife's name: Elizabeth Pruneda Balmaseda.
    He has lost 44 pounds since his imprisonment a year ago.
  • Iván Hernández Carrillo
    Sentenced to 25 years in prison.
    Age: 33 years old.
    Carrillo is Honorary President of the Executive Council of the Workers National Independent Confederation of Cuba (Conferedación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba, CONIC).
    Serving his term at the Holguín province prison (373 miles from his home).
    He has been placed in solitary and punishment cells several times due to his unyielding attitude and for sending reports abroad about the infamous conditions that political prisoners endure at this facility. He has staged three hunger strikes since the onset of his imprisonment.
    Home address: Calle Mesa #32 between San José and Concha, Colón, Matanzas province.
  • Alfredo Felipe Fuentes
    Sentenced to 26 years in prison.
    He is a labor leader with United Workers Council of Cuba (Consejo Unitario de Trabajadores de Cuba, CUTC), a CLAT affiliate.
    Serving his term at Guamajal Prison in Villa Clara province (187miles from his home).
    Home address: Calle 35 #4007 between 40 and 42, Artemisa, La Habana province.
  • Héctor Raúl Valle
    Sentenced to 12 years in prison.
    Serving his sentence at Combinado de Guantánamo Prison (615 miles from his home).
    Home address: Calle 40 #6123 between 61 and 65, San José de las Lajas, La Habana province.
    Wife's name: Darelys Velásquez Falcón, who has been harassed and threatened twice by State Security police.

In addition to withstanding the burden of unjust prison terms, these political prisoners are living in subhuman and degrading conditions, in boarded up cells (tapiadas) infested with insects and rats. In a last attempt to break their resistance, State Security has transferred the labor activists to the commons, where prison authorities then use the inmates to harass and physically abuse the political prisoners.

II) Harassment of Labor Leaders, Supporters and Activists of the Independent Labor Movement

Convention No. 87 deals with labor union freedom and protecting the right of workers to organize labor unions (adopted in 1948). Cuba is signatory to this Convention, which it ratified on June 25, 1952. It states:

Article 2

Without distinction or previous authorization, workers and employees have the right to form the organizations they see fit, and to join these organizations so long as they abide by their statutes.

Article 3

Public authorities must abstain from any and all interference that may limit this right, or thwart its legal exercise.

Convention No. 98 deals with the right to unionize and the right to collective bargaining. Cuba ratified this convention on April 29, 1952. It states:

Article 1

1. Workers shall enjoy adequate protection against acts of anti-union discrimination in respect of their employment.

2. Such protection shall apply more particularly in respect of acts calculated to--

(a) make the employment of a worker subject to the condition that he shall not join a union or shall relinquish trade union membership;

(b) cause the dismissal of, or otherwise prejudice a worker by reason of union membership or because of participation in union activities…

  • Reinaldo Milton Menéndez (age 36), Secretary General of the Bike-taxis Union, has been fined several times and arrested and beaten by national police; he is under threat of being taken to court if he continues with his independent union activism.
  • Juan Manuel Zayas Torriente, Confederation of Democratic Workers of Cuba/Confederación de Trabajadores Democráticos de Cuba (CTDC), is under constant secret police surveillance; the independent employment licenses of his sons Roberto and Juan Manuel Zayas were revoked in retaliation; they live in Mantilla, Arroyo Naranjo municipality.
  • Víctor Manuel Domínguez García (age 43), Director of the National Training Center for Labor Rights and Union Organizing/Centro Nacional de Capacitación Sindical y Laboral. Officials of State Security police have gone to his house several times to harass him; he has been arrested three times, held in custody, questioned and threatened with Law 88, the gag law. He lives in Centro Habana municipality.
  • María López Vela (age 34), assistant director of the National Training Center for Labor Rights and Union Organizing/Centro Nacional de Capacitación Sindical y Laboral, and an independent journalist with Lux Infopress. As a retaliatory measure, her daughter has expelled from the José Ramón Rodríguez Lópex School and she is denied access to education for, in the revolutionary code, higher education is a right only for supporters of the revolution. She has been threatened by secret police and by directors of the CDR (block committees for the defense of the revolution) and the FMC (Federation of Cuban Women. On June 13, 2003 she was summoned to the national police headquarters at Picota where she was questioned for three hours and threatened with Law 88, the gag law. On Friday, November 23 María and her daughter were assaulted as they emerged from the Payret movie house, located in La Habana Vieja. "A white man, about 30, attacked me," said the journalist, who was taken to the Miguel Enrique Hospital. "I didn't see him carrying a knife, but he stabbed me in the torso." It was a deep wound that required 12 stitches. Her daughter suffered a sprained right ankle and several bruises that caused her lips to swell, when she went to her mother's aid. Neither mother nor daughter knew the assailant. They filed a complaint at the police station located at Dragones and Zulueta streets, in La Habana Vieja, but to date have received no answer from the police investigating the case.
  • Secret police agents visited independent labor activists Manuel Antonio Brito, Maibel Padilla Pérez, Israel Picallo Ortiz and Reinaldo Rodriguez Díaz, of United Workers Council of Cuba/Consejo Unitario de Trabajadores de Cuba (CUTC), and issued severe threats. They were summoned to the Picota police precinct. Attorney Francisco Lebla, of this same organization, also received a visit from the police.
  • Carlos Serpa Maceira (age 34), a resident of Isle of Youth municipality and an associate of Lux Infopress, is confined to his home every time there are political activities in town or revolutionary holidays are observed. State security agents have threatened him on various occasions due to his role of correspondent.
  • Héctor Pacha García, (age 61) a delegate of the National Independent Workers Confederation of Cuba/Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC) in the Isle of Youth is under constant threats and harassment. Pacha is self-employed as a welder; he works at home. He was visited recently by agents of the National Tax Office, who went through all his records and documents as they investigated the origins of the raw material he employs. He has been threatened with a 20-year prison term for allegedly violating Law 88, the gag law.
  • Luis González Medina, an activist of the Cuban Confederation of Democratic Workers/Central de Trabajadores Democráticos de Cuba in La Habana province, was summoned to secret police headquarters in San José de las Lajas, where he was threatened with prison if he continued participating in prayer vigils in support of political prisoners.
  • José Agramonte Leiva, an associate of Lux Infopress, was arrested twice and taken to the police headquarters in Camagüey, where he was questioned during two hours.
  • Martha Ida Horta, an activist with the National Independent Workers Confederation of Cuba/Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC) was threatened, arrested and subjected to questioning on July 16, August 12 and September 8 2003, respectively. A warning notice was put in her file.
  • Gabriel Díaz Sánchez, an activist with the National Independent Workers Confederation of Cuba/Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC) in Granma province, was expelled from the presentation of the book "Los disidentes" on July 25, 2003. Two double agents of the State Security Agency were present at the ceremony; the two were government-infiltrated moles in the independent labor movement.
  • Pablo Gregorio Molina Nieves, Las Tunas provincial delegate for the National Independent Workers Confederation of Cuba/Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC), has been arrested and interrogated on various occasions and threatened with prison. Molina's communications with people abroad are constantly interrupted; visitors to his house have been harassed and threatened by State Security police.
  • José Félix Rodríguez, National Independent Workers Confederation of Cuba/Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC) delegate from Pinar del Río province, was detained for over 7 hours at a national police station in that city in February 2004. Sources said that two officers arrested him at home and tookhim to the station. Once there Captain Mario from State Security police questioned him; he told Rodríguez that he was sick and tired of his activities and that if he continued organizing independent unions he would be tried and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
  • Magalis Suárez Martínez was dismissed from the industrial complex at Santa Clara where she worked as accountant in the Industrial Services Division. Prior to her being fired, two secret police officers met with the division head and personnel office staff to inform them that MRs. Suárez and her husband were well known counterrevolutionaries. Suárez Martínez is a provincial delegate for the National Independent Workers Confederation of Cuba/Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC) in Villa Clara, and her husband, Carlos Yera Martínez, a former political prisoner, is president of the Christian Democratic Movement.
  • Emilio González, a delegate from La Habana province for the National Independent Workers Confederation of Cuba/Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC) has been summoned on many occasions to the "yellow house", the municipal department of State Security police. Officer Alberto is charged with his hour-long interrogatories, which deal with his activities in CONIC.
  • Martha Ida Orta Pazo, Secretary General of the Public Administration Union, was summoned by police on February 24. She was warned that no political or union activities would be tolerated in her house. A week before, National Training Center for Labor Rights and Union Organizing (Centro Nacional de Capacitación Sindical y Laboral (CNCSL) had conducted a labor issues seminar at Orta Pazo's home, located at Avenida 89 #4416, between 44 and 46, Alturas del Río de Güines, La Habana province.
  • Pedro William Roofing, Alejandro Victoria Basulto, Barleyda Asperaza and Ana María Navarro Soja, residents of Sibanicú in Camagüey province and members of the National Independent Workers Confederation of Cuba/Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC)were all verbally summoned by Captain Pedro Luis Delgado to the municipal headquarters of the National Revolutionary Police. No written summonses were issued; the officer stated that his oral orders were enough. Captain Delgado also summoned Tomás González Martínez. All five independent labor activists were threatened with their safety and personal integrity merely for visiting and meeting with Lázaro González Adán, provincial delegate of the organization. Adán reported the news.
  • Lázaro González Adán, Camagüey province delegate of the National Independent Workers Confederation of Cuba/Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC) has been threatened several times with a 20-year prison term. According to Captain Pedro Luis Delgado, Adán's police record is 8 inches thick, and he could be taken to court in the near future.
  • Marilyn Díaz Fernández, Lux InfoPress correspondent for Camagüey province, has been threatened by State Security officers several times. On November 14, returning home from Havana where she was recovering from leptospirosis, she was asked by police to get off the bus in Sancti Spiritus. They searched her belongings and confiscated 56 labor organizing training books and 200 magazines of different types, while the officers harassed and insulted her, obviously acting under instructions of State Security police.

III) Politically Motivated Discrimination in Employment

Convention 111 on employment and occupational discrimination, which Cuba ratified on August 25, 1965, states:

Considering that the Declaration of Philadelphia affirms that all human beings, irrespective of race, creed or sex, have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity, and

Considering further that discrimination constitutes a violation of rights enunciated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

Adopts this 25th of June, 1958 the following Convention, which may be cited as the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958

Article 1, item a) states:

1. For the purpose of this Convention the term discrimination includes:

(a) any distinction, exclusion or preference made on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin, which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment in employment or occupation;

Article 2 expresses the following:

Each Member for which this Convention is in force undertakes to declare and pursue a national policy designed to promote, by methods appropriate to national conditions and practice, equality of opportunity and treatment in respect of employment and occupation, with a view to eliminating any discrimination in respect thereof.

Convention 122 about employment policies, which Cuba ratified on February 5, 1971, states in Article 1, item 2(c) that there shall be

"….freedom of choice of employment and the fullest possible opportunity for each worker to qualify for, and to use his skills and endowments in, a job for which he is well suited, irrespective of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin."

Based upon these two Conventions, and additionally on ILO recommendations 111 and 122, the National Independent Workers Confederation of Cuba/Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC) through Federación Sindical de Plantas Eléctricas, Gas y Agua en el Exilio -CONIC international representative- accuses the Government of Cuba of acts of politically-motivated discrimination in employment perpetrated against all workers and labor activists listed in this report.

(A) Workers fired from their employment for having signed the Varela Project. Source: Osvaldo Payá Sardiñas

  • Osmany Escalona Apaseiro. (Age 26; married) Address: Calle 9 No. 5007 entre 50 y 50D, Artemisa, La Habana province where he resides. He was fired from his employment at Granja Agrícola "Juan Manuel Márquez" in November 2002.
  • René Durán Molina. Address: Zanja 3264, entre Belascoaín y Lucena, Centro Habana, Ciudad de La Habana. Fired from his job at Corporación Parametrics (ILOG SA de CV) in August, 2002 for signing the Varela Project. Mexican engineer and corporation president Arturo Lara Cruz did the firing personally.
  • Addeleisi González Brito. (Age 25)
    Address: Calle Pinar del Río #21, Párraga, Arroyo Naranjo, Ciudad de La Habana. He was fired from his employment at Universidad para todos television program, where he worked as sound operator. TV Channel director Roberto San Martín made the decision that González Brito could not continue working for the educational channel because of his endorsement of the Varela Project.
  • Arturo Cortina Martínez. (Age 35)
    Address: 11 Sur #809 entre Cuartel y S. Gregorio, Guantánamo. He was fired from Empresa de Tabacos de Guantánamo for having signed and for being a coordinator of the Varela Project. Plant administrator Leonardo Carbonell; union secretary general Isidora Brook; and Communist Party secretary Raúl Laffita together notified him of their decision to fire him.
  • Pedro Luis Rodríguez Lambert. (Age 52)
    Address: Narciso López #708-A, Guantánamo. He was fired from his employment on November 7, 2002. He worked as driver category D in the transportation department of the "Dr. Agustín Neto" Provincial Hospital in Guantánamo. Hospital administrator Rafael Zaim Gallego notified him he was being fired for having signed and for being a coordinator of the Varela Project.
  • Iosdel Trujillo Vivas
    A resident of Manicaragua, Las Villas, a lawyer and judge for the workers' municipal court in Manicaragua. The Workers' Supreme Court of Cuba relieved him of his duties on February 5, 2003 for having signed the Varela Project.
  • Bernoi de Jesús Labrada Figueredo. (Age 26)
    Address: Calle Camilo Cienfuegos #109 entre Céspedes y Callamo, Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba province. He is a member of the Christian Liberation Movement. On February 19, 2003, a day after his arrest during the trial of Jesús Mustafá and Robert Montero Tamayo (February 18, 2003), the director of the Vector Controls Department fired him.
  • Orlando Vázquez Pupo. (Age 46)
    Address: Filipinas, Niceto Pérez, Guantánamo. He was fired on February 5, 2003 from his post as administrator of the "Lázaro Peña" agricultural coop, for signing and for being a coordinator of the Varela Project. The municipal branch of the Communist Party at Niceto Pérez, and Osmín Celín Pérez, a member of the municipal committee of ANAP (National Association of Small Farmers) orchestrated his dismissal.
  • Yamilet Alvarez Moya. (Age 33)
    Address: José Martí #10, Manicaragua, Las Villas province. She was assistant education director at Manicaragua's Teaching Hospital (policlínico). In June 2002 the Communist Party nucleus at the policlínico summoned her to a meeting. She was ordered to choose between allegiance to revolutionary principles and her marriage to dissident Rolando Alvarez Chávez. Ms. Moya is a signatory of the Varela Project. At her adamant refusal, she was dismissed from her post and placed in a menial, lesser paying position on grounds of "political untrustworthiness."

(B) Politically-motivated firings

  • Mario Servando Soa. (Age 35)
    Address Avenida 47 #4202 entre 40 y 42, San José de las Lajas, Ciudad de La Habana province. He was fired from the municipal architectural center in San José de las Lajas on March 2003 for participating in human rights activities. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Gabriel Yosma Díaz Sánchez. (Age 28)
    Address: Calle Raúl Gómez #266 entre Guillermo Torres y Calle C, Reparto La Unión Bayazo, Granma province. He was fired from his post as martial arts teacher at the provincial office of the Sports Ministry on September 10, 2002. Source: National Independent Workers Confederation of Cuba/Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC.
  • Yaile Labore Roa. (Age 30)
    Address: Reparto Salomé, Camagüey province. She was fired from her teaching position at Special School "Mario Rojas Toscazo" on July 18, 2003 for signing the Varela Project. Source: José Agramonte, correspondent for Lux Infopress.
  • Héctor Molejón Amaya. (Age 49)
    A resident of Habana del Este municipality, Ciudad de La Habana province, he was fired from "Mártires de Chile" Junior High School (secundaria básica) in July 2003 for speaking about human rights at the school. Source: María Elena Mir, Cuban Workers' Free Labor Union/Sindicato Libre de Trabajadores de Cuba.
  • Yaquelín Rodríguez González. (Age 21)
    She was fired from her job at "La Moderna" (dollar-only) store because she is the daughter of opposition leader and Lux Infopress correspondent José Félix Rodríguez. Source: José Félix Rodríguez.
  • Andrés García Santos. (Age 41)
    He was fired from his job as sports instructor at the "Marta Abreu" Sports Complex in Villa Clara, for signing the Varela Project in February 2003.
  • Sirly Córdova Lezcano. (Age 24)
    She was a teacher at the "José Marti" Primary School until October 2002 when she was fired for signing the Varela Project. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Miriam Espinosa Leiva. (Age 55)
    Address: Calle Aguila entre Esperanza y Misión, Municipio Habana Vieja, Ciudad de La Habana province. She worked until February 2003 at the "Roberto Manuel Zulueta" Polytechnic Institute. She was fired for "political untrustworthiness" and for belonging to Comisión Cuba (the Cuba Commission).
  • Lázaro de la Paz Abella. (Age 31)
    A sugar industry chemist who worked at the "España Republicana" Sugar Mill in Matanzas province, until he was fired for belonging to the Pedro Luis Boitel Movement. Source: Caridad Beltrán, director of Lux Infopress Agency.
  • Mileydi Díaz Beltrán. (Age 27)
    A resident of Jovellanos, Matanzas province, she worked in marketing aspects of an industrial boiler factory until she was fired for signing the Varela Project.
  • Angel Serafín Caro Santos. (Age 61)
    A resident of Bayamo, Granma province. He worked as technician at Empresa Comercial Locales no-Alimentaria, until he was fired for relaying information through Radio Martí. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Maria López Vela. (Age 34)
    She was a meter reader and bill collector at Aguas de La Habana (Havana Water Works) a foreign investor-Cuban government partnership corporation, until July 2003 when she was fired for belonging to an opposition group. Source: Lux Infopress.
  • Epifanio Muñoz Leiva. (Age 53)
    A resident of Alto Songo, Santiago de Cuba province. Worked at a hydroponic plant, until he was dismissed for organizing an independent agricultural cooperative he named "Desengaño", i.e. disillusionment.
  • Mario Yera Sosa. (Age 47)
    A resident of Reparto Capri, Arroyo Naranjo municipality, Ciudad de La Habana province. He was a meter reader and bill collector for Cuba's electric company until he was fired on July 4, 2003 for "political untrustworthiness". Source: Lux Infopress.
  • José Scull Lara. (Age 31)
    A resident of Güines municipality, La Habana province, he was a custodian at the "Fernando Madero" junior high school, until he was fired for participating in activities in observation of José Martí Day (January 28, 2003) organized by the Cuba Commission/Comisión Cuba. Source: Lux Infopress.
  • Yamile García Carmona. (Age 33)
    A resident of Matanzas province, she was assistant economist at the "José Martí" bus terminal until she was fired for belonging to an opposition group. Source: Caridad Beltrán, director, Lux InfoPress.
  • Yosnier Ibarra Pérez. (Age 26)
    A resident of La Lisa municipality, Ciudad de La Habana province, she worked as a bicycle-shop mechanic at the municipal services company, until she was fired for belonging to an opposition group.
  • Gilberto Caballero Elvides. (Age 40)
    A resident of Colon municipality, Matanzas province, he was a thermo-electrical engineer at the "Rene Fraga Moreno" sugar mill, until he was fired for joining the opposition.
  • Lázaro Burunate. (Age 42)
    A resident of Colon municipality, Matanzas province, he worked loading and unloading cargo at an animal feed factory, until he was fired for joining the opposition. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Pedro Victor Domínguez Álvarez. (Age 33)
    A restaurant worker at Cafetería de San José, for joining the opposition.
  • Marcelino Emilio González Torres. (Age 51)
    A resident of Güines municipality, La Habana province, he was a department head at the provincial construction company, until he was fired for "political untrustworthiness.
  • Martha Ida Horta Poso. (Age 47)
    A resident of Güines municipality, La Habana province, she was fired for "political untrustworthiness" from a commercial services company.
  • Milton Meleniez Reinaldo. (Age 36)
    Fired from a construction company where he was employed as a mason, for belonging to an opposition group.
  • Juan Vladimir Pardo
    Fired from the Saratoga workshops, where he was a technical worker, for joining the opposition.
  • Miguel Angel Campos Aguilar. (Age 25)
    A resident of the town of Confianza, in the Caimanera municipality, he was fired from the provincial medical supplies warehouse for signing the Varela Project. Source: Carta de Cuba.
  • Luis Labrada Figueredo
    Fired from the factory readers' center in the Palma Soriano municipality, Santiago de Cuba province, for signing the Varela Project.
  • Valentín Cabrera Águila. (Age 52)
    A resident of Havana, he was fired from his post of physical education teacher at the "Enrique Galárraga" junior high school, for signing and obtaining signatures for the Varela Project.
  • Losiel Trujillo Vivas
    Fired from his teaching post at the Central University in Las Villas province, for signing the Varela Project.
  • Alain Gómez Ramos
    Sentenced to two years in prison for disobedience, for refusing to sign the government's constitutional modification Project. He was a history professor.
  • Rolando Pérez Alfonso. (Age 47)
    A resident of Centro Habana, Ciudad de La Habana province, he worked as an operator at the Neurological Institute. He was fired for expressing views against the government. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • José Luis Gómez Valdez (Age 35)
    A resident of the Arroyo Naranjo municipality, Ciudad de La Habana province, he was chief food division specialist at the Ministry of Food Industries. He was fired for "political untrustworthiness" after taking a three-month trip to Spain. Source: Christian Labor Organization/Central Sindical Cristiana (CSC).
  • Pascual Mompo Leal. (Age 42)
    A resident of the Habana del Este municipality, Ciudad de La Habana province, he was a general maintenance worker. He was fired for applying to the US visa lottery. Source: Christian Labor Organization/ Central Sindical Cristiana (CSC).
  • Camilo Vidal Crespo. (Age 51)
    A resident of the Habana del Este municipality, Ciudad de La Habana province, he worked at the Cerro municipality commerce company, from where he was fired for "political untrustworthiness." Source: Christian Labor Organization/Central Sindical Cristiana (CSC).
  • Maria Grave de Peralta. (Age 43)
    A resident of the Habana del Este municipality, Ciudad de La Habana province, she was a teaching assistant at the "Mártires de Bolivia" School. She was fired for applying to the US visa lottery. Source: Christian Labor Organization/Central Sindical Cristiana (CSC).
  • Carlos Toledo Torredo. (Age 50)
    A resident of the Playa municipality, Ciudad de La Habana province, he was a front desk clerk and cashier at the Amistad Hotel. He was fired for belonging to an independent labor union. Source: Christian Labor Organization/Central Sindical Cristiana (CSC).
  • Jorge Viera Pérez. (Age 51)
    A resident of the Centro Habana municipality, Ciudad de La Habana province, he worked as cashier at the Amistad Hotel. He was fired for belonging to an independent labor union. Source: Christian Labor Organization/Central Sindical Cristiana (CSC).
  • Silvio Herrera Núñez. (Age 51)
    A resident of La Habana Vieja, Ciudad de La Habana province, he was employed at the "Ramón González Coro" press, and was fired for being a freemason and for not participating in political activities. Source: National Independent Workers Confederation of Cuba/Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC)
  • Gladys Aleida Núñez Villalta. (Age 41)
    Fired from the "Ramón González Coro" press for belonging to a human rights group. Source: National Independent Workers Confederation of Cuba/Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC)

C) Fired for attempting to leave the country ilegally.

  • Eduardo Orea Rodríguez. (Age 25)
    A resident of the Marianao municipality, Ciudad de La Habana province, he was employed at the National Center for Genetics Research. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Rafael Jiménez Molina
    Fired from his job as custodian at "Los Marianitos" child care center.
  • Pedro Rafael Jorge
    Fired from his job as machine operator at the Caibarién lobster processing industry.

D) Fired for other politically-motivated reasons.

  • Angel Ibarra Morales. (Age 58)
    Fired from his job as general aid at Empresa Nacional Astros in Camagüey. Source: José Agramonte Leiva, Lux InfoPress correspondent.
  • Alfredo de la Torre Gonzáles. (Age 61)
    Fired from his job as general aid at Empresa Nacional Astros in Camagüey. Source: José Agramonte Leiva, Lux InfoPress correspondent.
  • Filiberto Pérez Hernández. (Age 54)
    Fired from his job as general aid at Empresa Nacional Astros in Camagüey. Source: José Agramonte Leiva, Lux InfoPress correspondent.
  • Alfredo Avila Sánchez. (Age 41)
    Fired from this job at the gastronomic department of the "Ignacio Agramonte" Airport in Camagüey. Source: José Agramonte, Lux InfoPress correspondent.
  • María Amateos Damas (Age 53)
    Fired due to alleged personnel reduction at the Holguín province industrial complex, in Nicaro. The measure did not take into consideration that she was two years Hawai from retirement. Source: Lux Infopress.
  • Noel Batista Vela. (Age 43)
    Fired from the Nazareno agricultural farm in San José de la Lajas, where he was part of the milking staff, for standing up for his rights. Source: Lux Infopress.
  • Obelkis Reyes Son. (Age 26)
    Fired from her job as supervisor at the water and sewer department in La Habana Vieja, Ciudad de La Habana province, for alleged transportation problems. Source: Lux Infopress.
  • Estanislao Pérez Reyes. (Age 39)
    Fired from his job as custodian at the Isle of Youth zoological park, for demanding better working conditions. Source: Isle of Youth chapter of the National Independent Workers Confederation of Cuba/Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC).
  • Maida Tamayo Rondón. (Age 43)
    A resident of Camagüey, she was fired from the provincial unit "La Playa", where she was a salesperson, for disagreeing with arbitrary disciplinary measure.
  • Joel Corujo Benera
    A resident of Camagüey, he was fired from his carpentry job at the construction supplies company for not participating in political activities. Source: José Agramante, Lux Infopress correspondent.
  • Luis Rafael Rodríguez Serute. (Age 45)
    A resident of the Niquero municipality, Granma province, where he was a technician at the Center for Hygiene and Epidemiology, for expressing opinions against the government at work. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Balbina Pollate Leiva
    A resident of Pasa Nicaro, Holguín province, she was fired from her teaching post at the "Rafael Orejon" primary school. She was living in an illegal dwelling and when authorities came to evict her, her students staged a rally.
  • Adolfo Peraza Rico. (Age 46)
    Fired from his job as category B plumber at the ECOA 24 construction company, for requesting that he be paid for the overtime schedule assigned to him. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Maria Hortensia Basalto. (Age 42)
    Fired from her job as janitor at the "Hermanos Giralt" nursing home, for not belonging to any official political organization at work. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Ricardo Santiago Medina. (Age 35)
    He was not allowed to continue working at the 153 Street land-and-cattle farm of the Marianao municipality because he joined the opposition. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Insten Pérez de la BarroaA resident of Santa Clara province, he was not allowed to continue working as plant aid with the iron and steel industry because he refused to contribute the expected one-day salary for the territorial militia fund, and for complaining about poor working conditions.
  • Julio César Selares
    A dermatologist on the medical staff of "Hermanos Amejeiras" Hospital, he was dismissed from his post for marrying a Mexican citizen.
  • Roberto Esquivel Rabelo. (Age 39)
    Dismissed from his job as warehouse chief at the Amistad Company, a domestic commerce firm in La Habana Vieja, for alleged work performance irregularities. Source: National Independent Workers Confederation of Cuba/Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC)
  • Juan Carlos Martines Muñoz. (Age 54)
    A resident of the city of Bayamo, Granma province, he was fired from the municipal plant of the national food industry for objecting to the state secret police and refusing to endorse an honor code.

E) Employment denied for political reasons

  • Tasmani Ibarra Perez. (Age 24)
    A licensed beautician, graduated from the municipal service company in La Lisa, she was denied employment at same for belonging to the United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Fredi Vivanco Pérez
    Denied employment at the municipal service company in La Lisa for not belonging to any political or mass organization. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Olga Lidia Álvarez Crespo
    A resident of the Salome district in Camagüey province, she was denied a self-employment license for her anti-government stance.
  • Paudel Mirabal Cordero. (Age 31)
    Unable to find employment for belonging to an independent union, he works without a license in the informal sector.
  • Katiuska Roque Pérez. (Age 28)
    A resident of Güines municipality, La Habana province, denied employment for belonging to United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Wilfredo Ortega Pérez. (Age 33)
    A resident of Güines municipality, La Habana province, he is denied employment everywhere for belonging to the opposition.
  • Miguel Martines Álvarez. (Age 36)
    A resident of Güines municipality, La Habana province, he is denied employment for speaking out against the government.
  • Madelaine Navarro Son. (Age 24)
    A resident of Güines municipality, La Habana province, she is denied employment for belonging to an independent labor union. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Yoel Palenzuela Méndez. (Age 32)
    A resident of "Los Mangos" farm in Güines municipality, La Habana province, he is denied employment for belonging to an independent labor union.
  • Eugenio Alona Rodríguez. (Age 37)
    A resident of Güines municipality, La Habana province, he is denied employment for belonging to an independent labor union.
  • Dayán Toledo González. (Age 25)
    A resident of Güines municipality, La Habana province, he is denied employment for belonging to opposition groups.
  • Roberto López Rodríguez. (Age 31)
    He is denied employment for his opposition to the government and for belonging to an independent labor union.
  • Dorka Guzmán González
    A resident of Güines municipality, La Habana province, she is denied employment for belonging to an independent labor union. She has been unable to practice her career since graduation. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Adisleninkes Sosa Alfonso. (Age 27)
    A resident of Güines municipality, La Habana province, he is denied employment for belonging to an independent labor union. Since graduating, has never been appointed to any position. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Fidel ZequeiraVega. (Age 31)
    A resident of La Lisa municipality, Ciudad de La Habana province, he is denied employment for vocally opposing the government. The mass organization reps on his block have labeled him a counterrevolutionary.
  • Alfredo Rodríguez Vera. (Age 37)
    A resident of La Lisa municipality, Ciudad de La Habana province, he is denied employment for his participation in activities organized by opposition groups.
  • Reinier Páez Cordero. (Age 24)
    A resident of La Lisa municipality, Ciudad de La Habana province, he is denied employment for belonging to an independent labor union. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Roldán Cortés Martínez. (Age 32)
    A resident of La Lisa municipality, Ciudad de La Habana province, he is denied employment for belonging to non-governmental organizations. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Jorge Garateix Pérez. (Age 36)
    A resident of Güines municipality, La Habana province, he is denied employment because his political opinions are deemed incompatible with the socialist system. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Raúl Ruiz Quintana. (Age 31)
    A resident of Güines municipality, La Habana province, he is denied employment due to his vocal opposition to the government and his political ideas. Cuban authorities consider him hostile to the government. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).
  • Mayra Hernández Milia. (Age 36)
    A resident of Güines municipality, La Habana province, she is denied employment for belonging to an independent labor union. Source: United Independent Workers of Cuba/Unión Sindical de Trabajadores Independientes de Cuba (USTIC).

IV) The State of Social Security and the Retired Population

  • Zoila Leiva Naranjo. (Age 79)
    A resident of Lindero Street in Camagüey province, she lives alone even though she suffers from diabetes and hypertension. The social welfare division gives her no assistance on account that she has two children living in the U.S.
  • Juana Aida Delgado Molina. (Age 63)
    For joining the opposition, she was evicted from her home and her name was erased from the public consumer registry. She sleeps in the local funeral home.
  • Lidia Lazo Sotolongo. (Age 70)
    A resident of Lealtad # 406 in Centro Habana municipality, Ciudad de La Habana province, she is retired and receives neither medical attention nor family support. A neighbor had to come to her rescue due to roach and mice infestation in her house.
  • Heriberto Álvarez Leiva. (Age 27)
    A resident of Calle 1ra entre C y D in the Jardín district of Camagüey province, he injured himself while doing hard labor in prison, where he was serving out a sentence for illegal sale of beef. Presently he is on parole, but has no right to a pension from the social welfare department, and therefore is working as street vendor peddling peanuts to survive.
  • Eugenia Milanés Samera (Age 53)
    A resident of Calle 25 #32-A entre 10 y 12, Reparto El Valle, city of Bayamo, Granma province. Due to respiratory complications from kerosene fume shock suffered 20 years ago while cooking, she has been requesting an oxygen tank from the Social Welfare office ever since, to no avail.

V) Working conditions

  • Juan Manuel Zayas and Roberto Zayas. Their self-employment licenses, which allowed them to work in the informal sector of the economy, were cancelled because their father is a political opposition activist. The national taxation office (Oficina Nacional de Administración Tributaria, ONAT) is using the license issue to blackmail both workers.
  • Dr. Jesús González Solares, age 34, a child orthopedics specialist, was electrocuted while working at the Aballí Hospital in Havana. Source: Lux Infopress.
    Police confiscated sewing supplies and sewing machines from local self-employed seamstresses, using operation "Public Shield" as an excuse.
    The work schedule was changed at 58 local retail stores in the Isle of Youth municipality. Workers expressed total disagreement: they must now work 12 hours a day six days a week, plus 6 hours on Sundays.
  • Drivers of horse-and-cattle-driven transport in Camagüey complain that the local authorities are abusive when it comes to issuing fines. Orisbel Chines Hidalgo, leader of the drivers group, filed a complaint at the provincial administration offices, pointing out that they now have to pay the national taxation office (ONAT) 30 Cuban pesos for street cleaning, 35 pesos for specially designated parking zones and 250 pesos for their license.
  • The water and sewer administration in La Habana Vieja is forcing its workers to work extra hours alter their normal work schedule in other parts of the city.
  • National police continues to harass the bike-taxi drivers. They confiscate their three-wheel vehicles, and then extort them by demanding between US$5 and $20 for their return; also, the cops issue tickets arbitrarily, and bar them from parking just about everywhere, making them drive around all the time. This news relayed by drivers Milton Méndez Reinaldo, Marcial Torres Guizado, Roger Benito Palmero, Joel Arias Lovaina, Ramón Enrique Rodríguez Figueredo and Juan Carlos Ricardo.
  • After completing their work week, employees of the sanitation sector, educators, and workers from other fields are made to "volunteer" four additional hours of work on the weekends at the "Valientes por la obra" plan in La Habana Vieja municipality.
    Workers at Cooperativa Hortícola Shangai (a horticultural co-op) located in the town of Managua, Arroyo Naranjo municipality, Ciudad de La Habana province, are systematically mistreated. They must work a seven-day week for a six-day week's salary. The food they receive is poor and insufficient, and Chinese workers are served in a separate mess hall.
  • Hundreds of workers at the "Eusebio Hernández" maternity hospital are unable to eat at the facility due to unhealthy food preparation and the fact that it is usually insect-infested.
    At the "Roberto Manuel Zulueta" neighborhood clinic (policlínico), located in La Habana Vieja municipality, podiatric technicians have no chairs to work with, nurses lack wound-dressing supplies and medications for injections and cures, the lab technicians lack reagents to perform blood tests, and in general lack materials to medicate and take samples.
    To enforce the energy consumption reduction plan, the government ordered all air conditioners be shut off between 11 am and 2 pm at all dollar stores, work centers and companies. During those hours, employees must continue working in sealed buildings without climate control and generally in unhealthy conditions.
  • Working conditions at the "Niceto Pérez" agricultural co-op in Holguín province are dismal. Employees are working barefoot and without work uniforms due to shoe and clothing shortages. The co-op administrator warned that workers who objected to those conditions should quit and leave the work center.
  • Sanitation workers at the Aurora plant, in La Habana Vieja municipality, charged with street garbage collection, are working without masks or gloves. In addition they work in a squatting position for hours, which is harmful to the spinal column. For the last six months, the personal items bonus bag they receive monthly has been missing the usual bottle of detergent.
    The clay and ceramics factory (Barro y Cerámica) in San Francisco and the firebrick factory (Unión Básica) in Camagüey are emitting toxic fumes and smoke into the air, causing workers to develop a lung condition known as silicosis wherein the lungs become lined with a film that causes cancer, pulmonary fibrosis and respiratory failure. Reported by Jorge Landrián, assistant director of environmental health in Camagüey.
    Teachers must now clean the classrooms, hallways and bathrooms in the schools where they are employed, and they must ask students to contribute with cleaning supplies. In addition, since the beginning of the school year (2003) their lunch consists of student snack rations: a croquette sandwich and a cup of soy yogurt. Teachers earn between 178 and 235 Cuban pesos a month; they get a 100 pesos bonus if they promote all their students to the next grade; in general they have no material incentives.
  • Public health professionals see thousands of patients daily without the necessary conditions or medical supplies. Primary care is given without benefit of sphygmometers, stethoscopes, lab test reagents, expendable supplies, disinfectant solutions, oxygen tanks, aerosol mouthpieces, pharmaceutical samples or resources for special diets.
    Eighty percent of the workers in the fishing industry are underemployed, as the fishing fleet has been virtually reduced to scrap iron. Many of these workers have not received their dollar bonus incentives since 1995. The government agency that employs these workers claims the company that hires them has been short on hard currency.
    Tourist industry workers enjoy greater advantages for they receive bonus incentives and they are tipped in dollars. However, industry administrators and managers sexually harass female employees.
  • Water and sewer workers, as well as sanitation personnel work without proper uniforms, without gloves or face masks; also, they receive no material incentives whatsoever.
    Transportation workers receive low salaries, get no hard currency bonuses, and work in very difficult conditions. Buses are so crowded, and commuters are in such bad mood, that many drivers have been beaten and stabbed while working.
    Custodial workers employed at CVP, SEPSA and other government agencies receive a snack consisting of a ham sandwich and canned soda. However, most workers sell the snack for 20 Cuban pesos which they use to buy food for their families. In other instances, the incentive comes in the form of food items, like 13 pounds of chicken and 2 liters of cooking oil a month. Workers in certain sectors have not received cooking oil in six months; across the board, no one receives incentives in hard currency.
    In 2002, 320,000 workers in the sugar industry were sent to training seminars and other activities. Thus, Cuba's real unemployment rate is camouflaged. The few workers that remain employed lack appropriate work attire or boots, and it's been three years since they received material or monetary incentives.

VI. Freedom to Organize as It Appears in International Legislation

The right of workers to organize is widely recognized in international legislation governing human rights.

The ILO Declaration on Principles and Fundamental Rights at Work acknowledges freedom of association as one of the "fundamental rights" that ILO members must uphold. ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize; and Convention 98, on the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining, uphold these rights clearly.

The ILO Declaration declares that "…all Members, even if they have not ratified the Conventions in question, have an obligation arising from the very fact of membership in the Organization, to respect, to promote and to realize, in good faith and in accordance with the Constitution, the principles concerning the fundamental rights which are the subject of those Conventions."

Convention 87 states: "Workers and employers, without distinction whatsoever, shall have the right to establish and, subject only to the rules of the organization concerned, to join organizations of their own choosing without previous authorization."

ILO Convention 98 goes even further about freedom of association, and acknowledges that:

"Workers shall enjoy adequate protection against acts of anti-union discrimination in respect of their employment…Such protection shall apply more particularly in respect of acts calculated to... (b)cause the dismissal of or otherwise prejudice a worker by reason of union membership or because of participation in union activities…"

According to the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association, effective protection against all types of labor union discrimination must include the contractual, employment and dismissal periods, "especially so in the case of union delegates, because in order to fulfill their union duties with complete independence they must be assured that they will not be harmed for reasons of their union mandate."

The above committee has indicated that anti-labor union discrimination in hiring -armed with black lists- constitutes "a serious threat to the free exercise of the rights of association, and in general, governments should take strong measures to combat such practices." Likewise, governments should offer adequate protection against unfounded dismissals based on anti labor union discrimination practices, and provide a framework for resolving such situations.

Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, adopted December 16 1966; entry in force March 23, 1976) establishes that "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests."

Similarly, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, adopted December 16 1966; entry in force January 3, 1976) acknowledges "The right of everyone to form trade unions and join the trade union of his choice…" Likewise, the American Convention on Human Rights (Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica adopted on November 22, 1969; entry in force July 18, 1978) recognizes in Article 16 that "Everyone has the right to associate freely for ideological, religious, political, economic, labor, social, cultural, sports, or other purposes." And finally, the Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, "Protocol of San Salvador" (adopted November 17, 1988) guarantees "The right of workers to organize trade unions and to join the union of their choice for the purpose of protecting and promoting their interests."

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