Medical aid from Cuba to Italy stands out in union congress

“We are still together. For the satisfaction of our contemporary needs. Against imperialist-capitalist barbarism” are the three main ideas collected in the central motto of the event inaugurated by Paolo Leonardi, on behalf of the Union Sindical de Base (USB), the only Italian group of its kind affiliated to the WFTU.

In his speech, Leonardi pointed out the limitations imposed on the meeting by the pandemic, a context in which he recognized Cuba’s help to Italy in what he considered an example of how “a small country subjected to an infamous blockade” ran to the aid of one of the eight most industrialized in the world.

Never before as on this occasion was it evident that capitalism is the bearer of death and socialism of life, he said, specifying that in gratitude to Cuba for the assistance provided to Italy against Covid-19, the USB supported the campaign in favor of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Henry Reeve Contingent.

Solidarity with the Caribbean nation was the common denominator of other interventions during the opening day of the three-day congress, in which a delegation led by the secretary general of the Cuban Workers Central, Ulises Guilarte, participated.

On the other hand, the member of the USB national executive recalled that this is the second world trade union congress held in Italy after the one held in 1949 in Milan, where the then leader of the Italian General Confederation of Labour, Giuseppe Di Vittorio, was elected president of the WFTU.

In this regard, he recalled how Vittorio fought against the division of the global trade union movement promoted by the American Federation of Labor and the British Trade Union Confederation, a process that led to the creation of the International Trade Union Confederation, a pro-capitalist and imperialist organization.

The World Federation of Trade Unions returned to Italy with its flags in squares and workplaces and once again became a point of militant and class reference, thanks to the entry of the USB more than a decade ago, he pointed out.

Also, referring to the crisis in Ukraine, Leonardi stressed the position of the USB against all wars and in favor of the dissolution of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The war and the sanctions, in addition to the thousands of deaths and destruction on the battlefield, are causing serious problems to peoples around the world who are suffering the consequences of the blockade of energy sources and the displacement of resources from the social sector to military spending, he said.

The popular masses and the workers will be the ones who will pay the highest price and that is also why we must be decisive in the battle against the war, Leonardi said at the opening of the meeting, in which more than 400 delegates from a hundred countries.

The president of the WFTU, Mzwandile Makwayiba, also spoke at the opening; the secretary general of the organization, George Mavrikos; and the deputy director of the Bureau of Workers’ Activities of the International Labor Organization, Anna Biondi, among others.


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Medical aid from Cuba to Italy stands out in union congress