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June 2003 • Vol 3, No. 6 •

Cuba’s Response to the French General Confederation of Labor

Havana, May 8, 2003

Monsieur Bernard Thibault
General Secretary CGT—France

Dear Thibault,

We have received the letter signed by Joel Decaillon, addressed to the National Leadership of the CTC, which speaks of sentences applied to a group of Cuban citizens.

Also we have learned that that letter has been sent to different Federations and to Departmental Unions who have even canceled visits to our country.

We are indeed astonished at the reaction of leaders of the CGT, an organization with which we have had friendly relations and solidarity for 40 years.

However, we have noticed during the last years a tendency to chilling of relations, notably at the level of leadership of the CGT.

Certainly, we deeply respect the right of each organization to choose its own road, and we are not capable of calling into question any decision which you take regarding your national or international activities.

Sincerely, we believe in the right to free determination of peoples, and consequently, of the organizations which represent these peoples.

I find myself obliged to respond to your declaration in taking account, on the one hand, that the CGT has never been on the side of the enemies of the Cuban Revolution, and on the other hand, I think that your declaration does not reflect the reality of what takes place with us, and thousands of trade union leaders and French workers who have visited us over several years know the real truth.

In your declaration you state that we have condemned this group of persons for a crime of differing opinion and for having exercised the right to criticism.

This is far from the reality.

Those who have been judged and condemned, as it was demonstrated during the course of the oral trial, were not condemned for their political ideas nor for having expressed their opinion, but for crimes of conspiracy against the country or service to a foreign power, at the diplomatic seat of that power in Cuba they received money and equipment, they prepared and promoted campaigns full of calumnies and lies to serve the interests and application of the Helms-Burton law, violating the laws of Cuba.

In no matter what country of the world, those who are at the service of a foreign power against their own country are considered as traitors, and if furthermore they are paid, they are then considered as mercenaries.

Mercenaries and traitors are judged and condemned in penal codes of the world in no matter what country.

You say, and it is true, that you condemn the blockade against Cuba.

You have always done this and we recognize that you have. You must know the enormous cost the blockade has had for our people, as well as the permanent aggression of the United States, but in spite of all that we have achieved a humane work without precedent, in comparison with other poor countries of the planet.

Perhaps no country as much as Cuba has accomplished the aims of Liberty, Fraternity, Equality, which were raised by the French Revolution.

Witness the results, recognized by all the agencies of the United Nations: all children are guaranteed a school, all Cubans have the real and effective right to nourish themselves and to the best of health care; employment and social protection exists for all the workers and retirees; there is access to sport and culture, as well as many other realizations which constitute a dream for the great majority of the world.

What our country has succeeded in achieving these last years in the matter of social justice, it has achieved in spite of the intentions of the government of the United States, and of its interior and exterior allies to destroy the Cuban Revolution.

The Cuban people weep the loss of more than three thousand of their children who have been victims of invasions, terrorist attacks, explosions of aircraft in flight, biological and bacteriological warfare. Never has so long and so intensive an aggression been directed at so small a country.

Only the unity of the people around their Revolution [has] been able to accomplish this miracle of resistance.

Perhaps you of Europe, being plunged into struggle for the social Europe to which you aspire legitimately, have not taken account of the enormous danger, which hangs over Cuba.

At first the war against Yugoslavia, then against Afghanistan, and at the present moment against Iraq, these wars should open the eyes of those who do not yet understand that the beast is at large and, if the peoples of the world can not defend themselves by themselves, nothing will remain of the concepts of sovereignty and independence.

The world has been put in a state of war and Cuba—which has been put by Mr.Bush on the list of countries who support and protect terrorism—attacked for 40 years, is considered a menace to the national security of the United States.

Important plans of aggressions against Cuba are being prepared and we have the right, and even more, the duty to defend ourselves since to defend one’s self is legitimate in a situation of extreme danger. It is true that very hard measures were applied.

The history of revolutions demonstrates how much violence was exercised against them and how much violence was necessary to defend them.

The French Revolution is an example. However, we can affirm with pride that the Cuban Revolution has been the clearest, most transparent of all.

Torture, extra-judiciary assassination or physical violence have never been applied against anyone. In more than 40 years, not a single person has been disappeared, not a single person was condemned without having the right to be judged according to the laws in effect.

Whoever possesses a minimum of information on the war launched against Iraq by the greatest power in History, would understand that the existence of laws which protect the sovereignty and independence against the enemy nation—which dedicates all its power to destroy it—are necessary.

What we want to avoid today, is to have, in the future, to regret the massacre of our people, while in the United States they are preparing urgent plans for destabilization and seeking a pretext to frontally attack our country.

It is not Cuba, although some cynically say so, which has caused the measures taken to give a pretext to the United States to intervene in its country.

There exist already plans for an aggression, and all that when Cuba had not taken these measures. How can it be understood that they have put Cuba on the list of countries who sustain terrorism?

I suppose that the French press, which has printed much news regarding these events in Cuba, has also revealed the declarations of functionaries of the United States, who, like Colin Powell, for example, state the right of their country, by the expedient which they call their war on terrorism, to demolish the Cuban government.

Finally, I would make reference to a statement contained in your declaration, which says that among the condemned were trade union leaders belonging to a supposed independent trade union.

This statement if very far from the truth and furthermore many leaders of the CGT know this. Trade unions find their reason for existence only in the work centers. … A trade union cannot exist if it is not elected by the workers and if it has no members.

You, at least those among you having visited Cuba, know that the trade union elections in the work centers of our country are conducted in a free and open manner.

It is the workers who nominate and elect according to their will, and at present, and I am sure that always, they have elected and will elect those who stand in defense of their interests and of their rights, and which are intimately linked to the very existence of the Cuban Revolution.

Those whom you call trade union leaders, our workers here, who have filled the Plazas together with their families at the festival of the First of May (more than 7 million), call condemned traitors as well as mercenaries, because they received considerable funds from North American agencies and other organizations which, like the CNV of Holland or the CMT, have put their resources and energies toward creating in Cuba, allies with the objective to destroy the work of the Revolution.

It was proved in court that those whom you call trade union leaders, as well as the rest of the condemned, conspired with the Office of Interests of the United States in Cuba to crush the Revolution and that is a crime under our laws.

We are always proud of the solidarity and friendship of the French workers.

We have struggled alongside the CGT for some years, to better the cause of the workers of the world.

In what concerns us, we will continue to work in that sense.

We await the same course from the leaders of the CGT.


Pedro Ross Leal,
General Secretary, Workers’ Central of Cuba





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