The Cuban authorities only recognise a single national trade union
centre, the Confederación de Trabajadores Cubanos (CTC), heavily controlled by the State and the Communist Party which appoints its leaders. Membership is compulsory for all workers. Before a worker can be hired they have to sign a contract in which they promise to support the Communist Party and all its representatives. The government explicitly prohibits independent trade unions. There still is no freedom of association and the right to strike is still not recognised in law. Six of the seven independent trade union leaders sentenced to lengthy terms in 2003 remained in prison. Workers who initiate cat strikes have been sentenced to up to seven years in prison. The Cuban government is ferocious in its repression on grassroots movements and independant (non government sanctioned) unions. Violations of unions' rights are well-documented, you can find a depressing list of all the crackdowns by the cuban authorities on workplace organizing at numerous websites. See for example the
Now for some sarcasm directed at those that maintain that "we must defend the Cuban
Revolution in the face of US Imperialism".
Of course, their answer is that we must understand that the Cuban government has no other option but to violently supress strikes : it's just one of the prices to pay in order to resist US imperialism. Those advocating the right to strike are just silly Utopians with no understanding of the historical circumstances. Given the historical development of Cuba, strikes are counter-revolutionary. Things are what they are because things are what they are.Class antagonism cannot take the form of strikes in Cuba because class antagonism is in the process of disappearing in Cuba, because Cuba is led by Socialists because everybody says so.
Again, things are what they are because things are what they are. QED.