Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. - http://www.cubafreepress.org

27 de Junio del 2001

CUBAN UNIONS APPEAL FOR FREEDOM OF JAILED LEADER By Maria Del Carmen Carro, Cuba Free Press

HAVANA -- The Independent Workers Union (USTI-Cuba) issued a call to international labor organizations to appeal for the immediate release of José Orlando González Bridón, sentenced to two years in the capital's East Combined Prison.

The USTI independent union requests solidarity from labor federations internationall, including the AFL-CIO in the United States and the International Confederation of Free Trade Uions as well as European organizations like the International Workers Organization. The non-government Cubans urge the free trade unions to initiate a campaign for complete freedom for Executive General Secretary Gonzalez Bridon of Cuba's Independent Worker's Confederation. He has been held in maximum security prison since Dec. 15.

Union activists say González Bridón carried the standard for the establishment of free unions in Cuba. His defense of workers rights, constantly violated by the Castro regime, has distinguished him among leaders of independent workers groups, they say.

Some say González Bridón was merely an independent journalist but the principal role he played was among independent unions. He also did journalistic work because he understood the importance of making known the plight of the Cuban worker and the Cuban people, the Cuban unionists say..

>From prison, Gonzáles Bridón says he has not forgotten what it means to be an independent unionist and as a leader he repeats this message: "Don't let Independent Unions die! I may be a prisoner, but the Cuban Confederation of Democratic Workers is not!"

Joining united in the call for international solidarity are the Cuban Christian Workers Union, the Independent Transportation Workers Union, the Syndicate of Independent Union Workers (USTI) and the February 24 Movement Democratic Union Bureau.

"We unite with all of the forces of the international union movement until we achieve José Orlando González Bridón's freedom," the unionists say. "José Orlando González Bridón embodies the independent unionist."

Signing the solidarity appeal in the name of the Cuban independent union organizations were Florentino Ledesma and Raymundo Jorge Martínez for USTI, and Leonardo Bruzón Ávila for the February 24 Movement's Democratic Union Bureau.

Maria del Carmen Carro, Cuba Free Press


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