Libmonster ID: UK-747

The article is devoted to the history of the struggle waged by the Cuban workers in defence of their trade union organization - the Cuban Federation of Labour - against the offensive launched by the capitalists and imperialist agents in 1944 - 1948.

The author describes the powerful upsurge of the Cuban people's struggle for their rights in 1944 under the impact of the victories scored by the anti-Hitler coalition headed by the U. S. S. R. in the war against nazism, which resulted in the downfall of the reactionary dictatorial regime instituted by General Batista. However, the power was seized by the bourgeois Partido Autentico which put forward a demagogic program of "national economic development" and proclaimed anti-imperialist slogans. The conquest of power by this party was used by the reactionary elements for launching an offensive against democratic forces, primarily the Cuban Federation of Labour which had achieved definite successes in the struggle to improve the position of the working class during the second world war.

The Cuban and U.S. monopolists intended to smash the Cuban Federation of Labour with the help of the so-called "Labour Committee'" set up by the ruling Partido Autentico with the aim of splitting the labour movement, whose members were actually paid agents of the American Federation of Labour in the Cuban trade unions.

The author of the article points out that the struggle for the leadership of the country's trade union movement reached its climax in the period of preparation for the Fifth National Congress of the Cuban Federation of Labour, held in the spring of 1947. To secure a majority at the Congress the "Labour Committee" resorted to every conceivable means, going to the length of organizing armed bandit attacks on progressive leaders and organizations. But despite its foul activities the overwhelming majority of Cuban workers were determined to safeguard the unity of the trade union movement in their country. The Fifth National Congress of the Cuban Federation of Labour opened in the early part of May and was attended by 1,403 delegates from 923 trade union organizations. The overwhelming majority of the delegates sharply condemned the subversive activity of the "Labour Committee"-that agent of imperialism in the labour movement. Staunch fighters for working-class unity headed by Lazaro Pena were re-elected to the leading bodies of the Cuban Federation of Labour.

The article further tells how after the Congress the Autenticos' government, encouraged and supported by U.S. monopolists and the Cuban bourgeoisie, began openly to suppress the democratic trade union movement in the country. The army, the police and hired bandits raided the premises of progressive trade unions and subjected prominent leaders of the Cuban Federation of Labour to savage reprisals. On October 11, 1947, the government outlawed the Cuban Federation of Labour and transferred its legal powers to a puppet government-directed trade union organization set up by a group of splitters from the "Labour Committee." The mass protest demonstrations organized by the Cuban workers against these arbitrary acts were suppressed by the government by force. However, notwithstanding this reign of terror the Cuban Federation of Labour continued to fight for workers' interests even after it was banned, drawing new strength in the support of the trade unions, in the assistance and sympathy of the broad masses of Cuban workers.

Having failed in its attempt to smash and stifle the democratic forces with the Autenticos' help, the Cuban and American reaction once again appealed to the military clique headed by General Batista to take over power in Cuba in 1952.

Following the triumph of the Cuban national revolution in 1959 and the overthrow of the Batista dictatorship, the trade union unity was re-established in the country. Today the Cuban Federation of Labour plays an outstanding part in the building of a new and free Cuba.


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B. S. NIKIROV. From the History of the Labour Movement in Cuba // London: British Digital Library (ELIBRARY.ORG.UK). Updated: 20.09.2018. URL: https://elibrary.org.uk/m/articles/view/B-S-NIKIROV-From-the-History-of-the-Labour-Movement-in-Cuba (date of access: 22.05.2024).

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