The more than three million members of unions affiliated with the Cuban Workers' Federation, as part of Cuban civil society, will welcome the President of the United States with hospitality and respect. We appreciate his decision to travel to our country, as an important step in efforts to advance toward the normalization of relations between the two countries.
He will discover a nation where workers have been able, at great sacrifice, to push ahead in the most diverse sectors of the economy and services, despite the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on us for more than half a century by successive U.S. administrations, and which is still in place, constituting the main obstacle to our development.
He will learn of a labor reality characterized by the right to employment without discrimination of any kind, equal pay for women and men performing the same job, social security which includes among other benefits the protection of working mothers and pensioners, and a unique system of labor justice that includes the broad participation of workers when settling disputes.
Even in the most complex economic circumstances, these rights have been preserved and shock therapy has never been resorted to, as is common in other nations seeking a solution to crises. Drawn upon instead has been the intelligence and capacity to respond of the hard-working masses, who have made available their experiences and resources, their creativity and innovative thinking, to overcome the difficulties and ensure compliance with the plans of their respective collectives.
We work with resolve to perfect our economic and social model in the pursuit of a prosperous and sustainable socialism. With this purpose the increasing number of non-state sector workers, who are consciously joining the ranks of trade unions, and along with workers in the state sector, are convinced they are an important element in the construction of the present and the future of our social project, based on collective welfare. They are also protected by our Labor Code.
On this visit, the President will be accompanied by a broad representation of businesspeople, which could open the way to stable economic ties with U.S. companies. On eliminating restrictions on Cuba, they could find space in a nation that is deeply engaged in its economic development, which has already embraced businesspeople from other countries, who have found here the civic order to guarantee their investments and highly qualified human capital, the result of the educational policy of the Revolution which began with the epic literacy campaign, this year celebrating its 55th anniversary, and the free access, provided by the state, absolutely free of charge, to the technical or professional training that each citizen is capable of, according to their abilities.
Cuban workers are proud of our tradition of struggle against exploitation and for social justice that valuable union leaders such as Jesús Menéndez, who fought for the interests of sugar workers and the Cuban nation against U.S. monopolies and representatives of the government of that country, have defended at the cost of their own lives. We are also followers of the legacy of the rightfully termed “Captain” of the Cuban working class, Lázaro Peña, who always advocated unity and stressed that the union must include everyone.
On this occasion, we reaffirm that we will never renounce the unity achieved by our workers, or our revolutionary, anti-imperialist and social justice ideals, nor our spirit of solidarity with the world’s just causes. We hope that the process initiated between the two countries moves ahead on an equal basis, without conditions and with respect for our independence and sovereignty.
Cuban Workers' Federation