Why is Pritzker Promoting Kleptocracy and Labor Violations in Cuba?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker is on a two-day visit to Cuba, as part of the Obama Administration's new policy of promoting business -- despite it being against the law -- with Castro's dictatorship.

The highlight of her trip yesterday was a tour of Castro's new Port of Mariel facility, which serves as a model of everything that's wrong about business in Cuba.

(Pablo Diaz Espi, editor of Diario de Cuba, explains why -- here.)

In short, the Port of Mariel was built by the Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht, in minority partnership with a shadow company of the Cuban military (Almacenes Universal, S.A.).

It was financed with money fleeced from Brazilian taxpayers, which is now under investigation.

Odebrecht's CEO, Marcelo Odebrecht, is in prison as part of a major corruption scheme.

Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva is under investigation for influence-peddling on behalf of Odebrecht in Mariel, which included various "gifts" to dictator Raul Castro.

Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff suddenly "classified" all documents regarding the Port of Mariel dealings, a shady and unprecedented move.

Cuban weapon shipments to North Korea, in violation of international sanctions, were being smuggled from the Port of Mariel even prior to its completion.

Odebrecht has been found guilty of slave-like labor practices.

Moreover, why would Pritzker promote business and investment -- despite it being against the law -- with a regime that violates every essential international labor norm.

In other words, why would she lobby to allow American companies to partake in such gross violations of international law, including the:

Forced Labor Convention (No. 29) and Abolition of Forced Labor Convention (No. 105); 

Freedom of Association and Protection to Organize Convention (No. 87); 

Protection of Wages Convention (No. 05);

Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention (No. 98);

Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (No. 111);

Employment Policy Convention (No. 122); and

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 23).

Is promoting kleptocracy and labor violations a new centerpiece of the Obama Administration's Cuba policy?