Cuban Democracy Groups Join Call to End Uyghur Slavery in China

Below is an article published by Breitbart, Photo credit OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images

The Assembly of the Cuban Resistance, a Miami-based human rights organization, recently joined the Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region, a group urging companies to stop profiting from the enslavement of Uyghurs in China.

Orlando Gutiérrez-Boronat, the national secretary of the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance, told Breitbart News this weekend that the Assembly saw joining the global campaign for the rights of people on the other side of the world necessary because Cuba remains shackled by communism, as well, and “solidarity is a commandment for the oppressed.”

“The slave exploitation of workers by Communist regimes for the benefit of crony capitalism is something that we as Cubans face every day,” Gutiérrez-Boronat noted.

The Castro regime has long enjoyed a friendship with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and is a formal member of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s plan to colonize the world’s infrastructure, despite the fact that Cuba has no historical relationship with the Ancient Silk Road in Eurasia. China initially claimed the objective of the BRI was to reconstruct the Ancient Silk Road, leading to dubious claims that pre-Columbian America was connected to it.

Experts believe the Chinese Communist Party has imprisoned between 1 and 3 million Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities in concentration camps in their native Xinjiang, China’s westernmost province, which Uyghurs refer to as East Turkestan. Survivors of the camps say they experienced or witnessed extensive torture, rape, communist indoctrination, forced sterilization and abortion, infanticide, and forced labor. They also witnessed evidence that indicates China is harvesting the organs of concentration camp prisoners for sale on the black market. A study published this year revealed at least 83 global companies have made money from manufacturing in factories that exploit Uyghur slaves.

Cuba is also embroiled in its own slavery scandal — the use of thousands of medical professionals for unpaid labor in some of the most dangerous parts of the world. Cuba’s “medical diplomacy” consists of sending doctors to allied states in exchange for lucrative contracts totaling as much as $11 billion a year in profits for the Communist Party, but only a meager living “stipend” for the doctors. The health workers cannot opt out of the program once they leave the island and defectors are banned from returning to Cuba and seeing their families for at least eight years.

The Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region began as an already large list of over 130 organizations — largely labor groups, Uyghur human rights groups, and allies like Tibetan and Hong Kong democracy associations — making specific demands to the world’s most lucrative and powerful companies to “exit the Uyghur Region at every level of their supply chain, from cotton to finished products, to prevent the use of forced labour of Uyghurs and other groups in other facilities, and to end relationships with suppliers supporting the forced labour system.”

At press time, the Coalition included over 200 organizations.

The Assembly of the Cuban Resistance is the only Hispanic democracy and human rights group on the list. There is one other Hispanic organization listed on the Coalition’s website, the Mexican labor movement Red de Solidaridad de la Maquila, and a Brazilian workers’ advocacy group, Central Única dos Trabalhadores (as it was a Portuguese colony, Brazil is a Latin American but not Hispanic nation).

Other notable groups of a wide variety of political ideologies include the American AFL-CIO union, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Human Rights Watch, and the far-left European group HOPE Not Hate.

Gutiérrez-Boronat called the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance’s participation in the coalition a “special distinction” that highlights that human rights are a priority for all Hispanics, noting that the Assembly includes Venezuelan and Nicaraguan groups, as well. Among the groups represented in the Assembly is also the Association of Veterans of Bay of Pigs, the 2506 Brigade, who engaged in active hostilities against the Castro regime in 1961.

“We are people from societies oppressed by a ruthless totalitarian regime and trying to regain our dignity, our rights, and freedoms. Communist China oppresses inside and outside its borders,” Gutiérrez-Boronat noted. “Just as the CCP dictatorship is allied with the Castro Regime, those who struggle for freedom and democracy must struggle together against the international structure of Communism.”

“The Hispanic community should take the lead in denouncing CCP atrocities and repression, given the history of development of human rights doctrine and struggle for freedom that is an inherent part of Hispanic civilization,” he concluded.

Coalition members are asking that all global companies disentangle from the Chinese slave system within a year. In the group letter, they note the urgency of companies doing so comes from the sheer number of goods sourced and manufactured by slave labor. As China dominates most of the world’s manufacturing, the fact that 84 percent of the cotton grown in China comes from Xinjiang means that about 20 percent of the world’s cotton products can be traced back to the region. This means that around one in five clothing items were made in part with Uyghur or other Turkic Muslim slave labor.

Multiple reports using satellite images of the camps have identified over 1,000 sites used to house Uyghur and other Muslim slaves in Xinjiang. In March, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) published a report revealing that China had begun busing Uyghur slaves out of Xinjiang to work in factories nationwide, meaning that global companies simply choosing not to operate in Xinjiang did not guarantee that their goods would not be made by slaves from the province.

The Chinese Communist Party claims the concentration camps are “vocational training” institutes where underprivileged minorities learn trades that can help them adapt to the modern Chinese economy.

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