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“Hands off Cuba”: ITF calls for end to blockade after protests

news 21 Jul 2021

Demonstrations and protests in Cuba have highlighted the human cost of the unjust and punitive trade blockade against the working people of Cuba.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation today reiterates its call to end all trade embargo, one that continues to hurt working communities across Cuba. The sixty-year blockade against Cuba has cost the country $130 billion since 1962 (ECLAC, 2018).

The consequences of the longstanding trade embargo have been borne on the shoulders on Cuban citizens, which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cuban transport workers, the Cuban trade union federation, and all workers, have worked tirelessly to keep transport, the economy, society and their communities moving during this once-in-a-century crisis. They have done this despite the economic and trade restrictions Cuba unfairly endures.

“Over the past months as Covid-19 cases have surged in the country, shortages of vaccines and basic medical supplies including syringes have loomed as major challenges for the island. At the same time, Cuba has deployed and continues to develop vaccines and other coronavirus drugs that remain under embargo, with dire consequences on its economy and global fight for vaccine equality,” said Paddy Crumlin, ITF President.

“The ITF calls for national, regional and international reconciliation and cooperation to end the trade blockade and resolve the economic, political, social and health crisis that is being forced upon the working people of Cuba,” said Crumlin. 

The ITF wholeheartedly supports people’s fundamental right to freedom of assembly, association and peaceful protest.

Edgar Diaz, ITF Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Secretary said: “The ITF and its 20 million transport workers around the world support the Cuban trade union movement and say, “hands off Cuba”. It’s time to end the blockade and let the working people of Cuba decide and determine their own future.”

At ITF’s 43rd Congress in Sofia in 2014, the ITF committed to playing its part in promoting cooperation and engagement with Cuba and in seeking an end to the embargo of Cuba. The resolution recognises the sovereignty of the Cuban people and their right to determine their own destiny free from outside interference.

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