Febr. 15. 2003: Free Republic, Internet.

Judge Garzón urged to probe Spanish investors in Cuba

Unidad Cubana, a federation of Cuban organizations in exile, denounces the system of "slave workers" and "serfdom" which the regime rents to foreigners.

MIAMI Feb. 10, 2003 (AI) - "We have just requested the intervention of Judge Baltasar Garzón, of Spain’s Audiencia Nacional (National Court of Appeals), in view of the flagrant violations of human rights in Cuba committed with the knowledge and cooperation of Spanish entrepreneurs who reside in Spain and who therefore are, we believe, under your jurisdiction," declared at a press conference Jesús Permuy, president of Unidad Cubana, an influential federation of Cuban organizations in exile.

In the letter sent to Judge Garzón, Unidad cubana explains that it refers to the exploitation of the Cuban worker by the communist regime, to which the Spanish entrepreneurs delivers the workers’ wages in dollars knowing that the regime will pay the workers in [Cuba] pesos, which, given the prevailing rate of exchange, is tantamount to a confiscation of nearly 80% of those [workers’] wages.

"These workers, who do not even have a semblance of social protection, for in Cuba there are no independent labor unions, least of all a right to strike, are, for all practical purposes, slave laborers, serfs that the Castro government leases out to foreign businessmen, as in bygone times slave holders leased a team of hands," says Unidad Cubana.

In the press conference, Permuy added that those Spanish entrepreneurs consent to other discriminatory practices of the Castro regime’s, such as that which forbids access by Cuban citizens residing on the Island to the malls and tourist resorts operated by Spanish companies such as Meliá and others, in a form of "apartheid" much worse than the one that was practiced in South Africa, and which brought upon that country an economic embargo decreed by the UN, for the [Castro] apartheid discriminates against all Cubans, regardless of their race or ethnic origin.

Due to the above, and being aware of Judge Garzón’s concern over accusations of human rights violations in regions so geographically distant from Spain as Chile and Argentina, they urge the judge to investigate the facts referred to, and to take the appropriate judicial action.

A copy of this letter was delivered to José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, secretary general

of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), urging him to "support the charges against the exploitation of Cuban workers by the Spanish entrepreneurs."

The Cuban legal scholar Luis A. Figueroa, a director of Unidad Cubana, said that similar initiatives may be taken against entrepreneurs from other countries, such as Canada, Italy, France and Brazil, which, along with Spain, own the largest investments in the island-prison, and also benefit from the "slave" labor that has been described. Figueroa also denounced the trade between American entrepreneurs and the Cuban regime, explaining that, as has been demonstrated by humanitarian organizations such as Pax Christy, trading with Cuba has only served to consolidate the communist authorities’ power.