Bui Van Cuong, president of the Vietnam General Federation of Labor (VGCL), described as special the ties of friendship between his people and Cubans; inspired by the example of Fidel Castro Ruz and Ho Chi Minh.
Van Cuong, also a member of the country’s National Assembly and Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee, recalled Cuba's unwavering support for his nation, such as denouncing the brutal U.S. invasion of Vietnam in international forums and lending support to its people during the conflict.
After Vietnam won the war, hundreds of its young people traveled to Cuba to study a wide range of university degrees.
The trade union leader presented the island with a 25,000 USD donation to help recovery efforts following Hurricane Irma, with workers laboring day and night to repair damage caused by the storm.
“We believe that the amount is not much but expresses our empathy and solidarity for the damage caused by this great meteorological catastrophe,” stated Van Cuong, speaking at the headquarters of the Cuban Workers’ Federation (CTC) in Havana.
The Vietnamese naval engineer with a Masters in Maritime Security added, “We Vietnamese shall never forget the words spoken by Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro during the war, when he stated that the Cuban people would give their very last drop of blood for Vietnam.” Van Cuong went on to note that his trip will also serve to strengthen the special ties of fraternity between the two peoples, and above all, between workers; expressed in the signing of a memorandum of understanding for the exchange of experiences and cooperation between the CTC and VGCL directed toward maintaining and expanding solidarity at a time when both countries are implementing social and economic change.
The document, signed by the Vietnamese official and CTC Secretary General Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, is focused on promoting exchanges to discuss the functioning of trade unions in the new forms of economic management, membership, and collective debate and action, as well as key sectors for bilateral trade, such as tourism, agriculture, construction, and energy and mines. Also included is the training of trade union leaders and a donation of office equipment and supplies to the Cuban organization.
“We wish,” stated Van Cuong “to continue contributing to the strengthening and development of socialism in both countries, which is why we have come to exchange our positive and negative experiences with our Cuban counterparts, in order for the two labor organizations to continue contributing their very best to the socio-economic development of their respective nations.”
Vietnam has some 54 million workers, 17 million of which are affiliated with different trade unions, while 10 million are members of the VGCL, the country’s only national trade union organization. The VGCL’s ties with the CTC date back over 50 years and both are members of the World Federation of Trade Unions.
Bin Van Cuong expressed his organization’s willingness to share Vietnam’s experiences in developing trade union bases within non-state entities, where the VGCL works to defend employees’ interests, such as protecting their rights to social benefits, decent wages, job security, environmental protection, and vacation.
The Vietnamese delegation, which also included members of the organization’s secretariat: Hoang Thi Thanh, director of the VGCL’s International Department; as well as division coordinator and officials Le Cu Tan, Nguyen Ngoc Phuong, and Duong Xuan Hieu, respectively, undertook a program of activities, which began with a tribute to Cuba’s National Hero José Martí, at the memorial erected in his honor in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución. The delegation met and spoke with Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee member, José Ramón Balaguer Cabrera.
Speaking at the donation presentation ceremony, Bin Van Cuong called on Cuban citizens and workers to continue in their just and successful efforts to build socialism and achieve socio-economic development, in order to raise the population’s quality of life, stating, “We express our utmost support for the continued strengthening and development of the ties of friendship between Cuba and Vietnam.”