BRIEF REPORT of CUBA DELEGATION 2015
From February 28-March 8, 2015, the Labor & Employment Committee successfully carried out its 16th consecutive annual research and solidarity delegation to Cuba, with a multiracial, multi-generational delegation of 21 labor lawyers and legal workers. As a result of strong support from the Committee and individual members, the Committee was able to fund six scholarships that made it possible for young lawyers and legal workers of color to participate.
The delegation met with union leaders and workers in Matanzas province, where we were hosted by the CTC (the Cuban trade union central body). We participated in an international labor conference with 300 labor lawyers from all over the Americas and some Europeans, organized by the Association of Latin American Labor Lawyers and co-sponsored by the Guild and the Cuban Labor Law Society of the Union of Cuban Jurists. We participated in a trilateral conference comparing our respective labor systems with colleagues from the Canadian Association of Labor Lawyers (CALL/ACAMS) and Cuban labor lawyers and judges affiliated with the Cuban Labor Law Society.
People in Cuba are very hopeful about the move towards normalizing relations. Cuban speakers at our events repeatedly gave the Guild a lot of credit for its work over the years against the blockade, for the freedom of the Cuban 5, and for the return of Elián González. The L&E Committee and the Canadian Association of Labor Lawyers jointly passed a resolution calling for the normalization of relations and the lifting of the blockade.
The delegation generated positive publicity for the Guild in Cuba. An article from Cuba's news agency quoted L&E Chair Dean Hubbard on the normalization of relations and the need to remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terror. An English translation of an interview with Dean Hubbard appeared 3/22 in Trabajadores, the weekly newspaper of the Cuban labor movement .
The Committee hopes to have its full report of the results of its research completed for distribution at the meetings of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee which will take place in April in Philadelphia. The Guild has invited and the L&E Committee has agreed to host Guillermo Ferriol Molina, the President of the Cuban Labor Law Society, at the NLG convention in Oakland in October.