The new aggressive escalation of the United States Government towards Cuba constitutes another move to tighten the criminal economic, commercial and financial blockade of Cuba, and aggravate its effects, which are felt by the entire Cuban population, and harm a sector of society to which the empire has hypocritically proclaimed its interest in supporting: self-employed workers.
The Federation of Cuban Workers and its trade unions expresses its commitment to continue representing this sector of the workforce and defend its rights, as we do for all workers, and condemns the growing hostility of the United States and its obsessive efforts to subjugate the homeland of Martí, activating all sections of the notorious Helms-Burton Act
To be heard these days are expressions of concern from members of the non-state sector, including private carriers; bed and breakfast owners; food service providers; and handicraft artisans, given the Trump administration’s prohibition on travel by any type of boat to our archipelago from the United States, including cruise ships.
An example of this dissatisfaction is the opinion of Hector Garcia, the driver of a classic convertible, who was interviewed by the Cuban News Agency, “These new regulations are totally crazy and absurd,” he said, noting that the economy of many families will be seriously affected, since much of their income comes from cruise passengers. The owners of the more than 300 classic and luxury cars associated with the Autos Antiguos Clásicos Descapotables agency, like so many taxi drivers with leases, “are worried about the future that awaits us.”
The White House is alarmed by the interest shown by U.S. citizens in learning the reality of this nation demonized by their government – the only country to which they cannot legally travel as tourists. In 2018, some 650,000 visited us, largely on cruises.
The drastic reduction of visitors from this country; the elimination of people-to-people educational trips; limitations on remittances; obstacles created by the obligation to travel to a third country to apply for a visa to visit the United States; and other restrictions of the Trump administration, not only affect the earnings of the self-employed, but also hinder the acquisition of financing and supplies for their businesses, and consequently, their contribution to the national economy and its priorities.
Such consequences reveal the double standards of U.S. imperialism, which at one time wanted to use Cuba’s non-state sector, “entrepreneurs,” as they are called, as a spearhead against the socialist project that has been underway for more than half a century in this land. They overlooked the fact that these workers are not alien to the Cuban economic model. On the contrary, they are important actors, who have been consistently supported, and now represent 13% of the economically active population.
The CTC and its trade unions will continue to defend their interests, as they have always done with all workers, and convey to them confidence in their importance and ability to contribute to the economic battle that is today the country’s principal challenge.
(Excerpts from CTC statement)