IKEA Asks for Investigation into the Use of Forced Labor in Cuba

HAVANA TIMES — The IKEA corporation has ordered an investigation into allegations that in the late 80’s some of its goods were manufactured by Cuban prisoners on the island, said Mike Ward, the president of the company in North America.

According to the Café Fuerte website, Ward met on Wednesday in Washington DC with a group of Cuban-American Congressional representatives — led by staunch conservative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen — to discuss the issue.

In early May, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper revealed documents indicating that officials of the former German Democratic Republic signed an agreement with the Cuban government to use prisoners in the manufacture of its products, an accusation that sparked international criticism.


3 thoughts on “IKEA Asks for Investigation into the Use of Forced Labor in Cuba

  • June 12, 2012 at 12:56 am
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    “The problem that Cuba seems to continually face, whether we are talking about forced prison labor or the reeducation camps for gays is that the same people who decided to do those things are still in power so they find it harder to admit their mistakes.”

    Reeducation camps for gays, not acknowledged as mistakes? Please pay attention to news about Cuba in the last decade or two. Fidel himself recognized that gays were oppressed, and the leading campaigner for gay and lesbian rights is Raul Castro’s daughter. The system even offers sex-change operations, I have read.

    Let’s save criticism for people and policies that deserve it.

  • June 9, 2012 at 6:10 am
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    It’s true, regimes find it hard to admit to their mistakes, hell, individuals find it hard to admit to their mistakes!! Regimes are not made up of gods, although some would have you think so, just people.

    There’s another operative here, however. As long as you have nutter Americans leaping at any excuse to demonise your regime, it will find it difficult to admit to any past errors.

    The Cuban-American Congressional representatives should read the Constitution of their adopted country. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution, passed in 1865, abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude, explicitly states that penal labour, a form of involuntary servitude, as a punishment for a crime is allowed. And it contiues to this day. Drive along any state highway in the southern states and you will encounter signs alerting drivers to “prison workers ahead.” Clad in bright orange jump suits with the name of their prison on the back in larger letters, all that’s missing is the old ball and chain.

  • June 8, 2012 at 6:26 pm
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    This is really no big deal. Heck, the Sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona has done far worse by his prisoners than using them to build furniture. The bigger issue is that several US Congressmen on taxpayer time have focused on this when there are so many more pressing problems facing the American people. But they seem unable to pass up any chance to bash Cuba. In a month (or less) this too shall pass. What is interesting is that in most instances, when the dirty laundry of a government from 30 years ago is discovered, the current leadership usually makes some sort of mea culpa by saying that mistakes were made, we have advanced since then, blah, blah, blah. The problem that Cuba seems to continually face, whether we are talking about forced prison labor or the reeducation camps for gays is that the same people who decided to do those things are still in power so they find it harder to admit their mistakes. One day, when regime change occurs due to biology, imagine the excuse-making bonanza Cuba will gain. No matter what, it was “their’ fault.

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