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Cablegate: Finland: Bolstering Support for Labor Rights And

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L HELSINKI 001006

SIPDIS

FOR WHA/CCA, EUR/ERA, AND EUR/NB

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/03/2014
TAGS: PREL PHUM ELAB CU FI ILO
SUBJECT: FINLAND: BOLSTERING SUPPORT FOR LABOR RIGHTS AND
CIVIL SOCIETY IN CUBA

REF: A. STATE 153312

B. STATE 152813
C. HELSINKI 860

Classified By: LABOFF David A. Schlaefer for Reasons 1.4(B) and (D)

1. (C) As reported in Ref C, almost all official contact
between Finland and Cuba has ceased, and Finland does not
maintain an embassy in Havana.

2. (C) We are not aware of any current activity by the
Finnish Government, or by Finnish NGOs, to support elements
of Cuban civil society and encourage democratic change. Nor
are we aware of any efforts by Finnish labor unions to
advance labor rights in Cuba. Since receipt of Refs A and B,
we have made some discreet inquiries, and turned up no
evidence of any actions under way in this area.
Nevertheless, Finnish officials have said that the GoF policy
toward Cuba is based on "encouragement of peaceful transition
to pluralistic democracy and respect for human rights."
These are not empty words -- human rights concerns are a
major factor in Finland's foreign policy. On the other hand,
the Finns have a strong preference for multilateral action in
most issues, via the EU if possible and in any case the more
broadly-based the better. We therefore believe that the
Finnish government and Finnish NGOs would be interested in
principle in international efforts to assist democratic
change in Cuba, but would not want to lead such an effort.

3. (C) The Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions, or
SAK, is Finland's largest trade union confederation. It
participates in the work of the ILO and belongs to the ICFTU
and the OECD's Trade Union Advisory Council. Its
international activities include promotion of worker rights,
in areas ranging from Russia and the Baltics to South
America, Asia, and Africa. The SAK may be interested in an
international effort in labor fora to press Cuba to end labor
rights violations, but again, we believe they would look for
the broadest coalition of partners possible before joining
and would be unlikely to take the lead in forming such a
coalition.
MACK

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