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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cuba Accused of Slave Trading

Forced labour has been a feature of many socialist regimes. The Soviet GULAG and the Chinese Lao Gai being the most well known examples.

Now Castro's Cuba has been accused of using forced labour to pay its overseas debts.

From Babalu Blog

Adalberto Rodriguez, Fernando Alonso and Luis Casanova, the three Cubans who were able to escape from a forced labor camp at the Curacao Drydock Company Inc. and are now suing that company in US courts for conspiring with the Castro regime to exploit them and hundreds of other Cuban workers, were guests last night of "A mano limpia" with Dominican journalist Oscar Haza, on Channel 41 America Te Ve.

here is a summary of what they said:

The reason why approximately 100 Cubans are working at the Curacao Drydock Company Inc. is that some time ago the company did some work for ships of Cuba's merchant marine and the Castro regime never paid the bill. When Curacao Drydock demanded payment, Castro offered to send Cuban slaves to work there instead. The Cubans work an average of 16 hours per day; have to do the work that the other workers don't want to do; sleep on hammocks at the same shipyard where they work; sometimes they have to work for 30 days without a day off; and on top of that, after ending their 16 hour shifts, they are forced to watch videos with speeches of the Cuban dictator.

The Cuban workers told Haza how they had to hide in Curacao for up to three months where they were helped by a Haitian coworker and several Cuban exiles who live there. When they went from Curacao to Venezuela, the National Guard stopped them and when they realized that they were Cubans trying to flee the Castro regime they asked for all their money they had in order to allow them to proceed to Colombia. They were set free after paying the bribe.

From Colombia they were finally able to reach the US.

One of the workers related how he was ordered by his Curacao Drydock supervisor to enter a gas tank that had not been completely cleared of all the fumes. When he complained that it was unsafe and inhuman to force him to work there, the supervisor, who works for Curacao Drydock, told him: "Remember that Cubans are supposed to follow orders, otherwise we kick their asses and send them back to Cuba."

The three Cubans also said that there workers from Colombia and other countries who were actually working as "helpers" for them, but were making 60 times as much money as they were because they were being paid directly, while in the case of the Cubans the Castro regime paid them an average of three and a half cents per hour, based on the number of hours that they had to work. Also, most Cubans had to work at night and also on weekends, when the pay is supposed to be higher.

They said that on December 31 of last year, the only workers who had to work that night were Cubans. They told Haza that once the Cuban debt to the Drydock Company is repaid, the Castro regime plans to continue to send slave workers to Curacao and have it as a new source of hard currency.

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