Statement of Policy: Cuba. Labor Party chapter condemns Helms-Burton
The Columbia River/Willamette Chapter of the Labor Party, 21 September 1996
The following policy statement was adopted by unanimous vote at a regular meeting of the Columbia River/Willamete Valley Chapter of the Labor Party by members of the trade union movement in the Portland, Oregon area: Steel Workers, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, International Longshoremen and Warehousemen Union, Oregon Teachers Association, Teamsters, Northwest Labor Council and others. The vote resulted from consideration of a report by Luis A. Martin, Federation of Cuban-American Workers, on the Helms-Burton law and motion to adopt the proposed policy by Bill Bates, Green Party.
The formation of a Labor Party is a historic event for all North American workers. For Cuban-American workers it will open a highly welcomed political choice in their communities that opposes the embargo at the same time that it defends their interests as workers.
The Columbia River/Willamette Valley Chapter ofthe Labor Party, in policy agreement with the The International Longshoremen's & Warehousemen's Union, is firmly opposed to inhumane actions by the United States government against the people of Cuba, and reaffirms its long-standing opposition to the economic embargo against the island nation. Further tightening of the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba only punishes the civilian population of our Caribbean neighbor and continues to deprive Cuban workers of non military necessities such as medical supplies, food and equipment.
By signing into law the Helms-Burton bill, which seeks to punish any nation or business that invests in or trades with Cuba, President Clinton has caved in to the right-wing extremists in Congress and the Cuban exile community who have long sought to provoke an international incident through which they could achieve their military and political objective of forcibly removing Fidel Castro from power In Havana. Such provocations inevitably lead to the tragic loss of life, as happened in April 1996 in Cuban airspace.
This Labor Party chapter believes that President Clinton's punitive actions against Cuban families will strengthen the resolve of the Cuban people to resist foreign interference in their internal affairs, and that it will also divide us from our traditional allies and trading partners, such as Canada and Mexico.
Not only are these countries already protesting U.S. interference in how they conduct international commerce, they are also pointing out that the U.S. itself would never stand for such interference from another nation, and are threatening diplomatic and legal action to reverse U.S. policy.
That hypocrisy is nothing new in Washington. We note that if the President's concern about democracy and human rights in socialist Cuba was evenly applied, then the U.S. would be compelled to sever ties with allies and trading partners throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America, and even Europe. But in an election year, President Clinton is apparently more concerned about Cuban-American votes in Florida and New Jersey, than in world peace and human decency.
Indeed, we are deeply concerned that the President has repeatedly failed to follow through on matters of vital interest to working Americans, but is apparently quite willing to appease the right wing of both political parties in his quest for re-election.