UNI Americas President message to conference: Africa and Americas united!
To a packed room of delegates, UNI Americas President, Ruben Cortina urged the importance of collaboration and coordination between the African and the American continents.
Cortina said that Africa and America are united through their common history of colonization.
“Colonialists and neocolonialists designed our countries to be natural resources exporting regions for the benefit of the wealthy north and west. Today, multinationals present the same threat as colonialists,” said Ruben Cortina. “The workers produce the wealth, but never see the fruits of their labours.”
“We represent the poor and the marginalized – our Breaking Through strategy, and coordination between the countries are our ways to fight back against the strategies of multinationals in our regions.
Cortina then referred to the struggles of Latin America, especially the years under dictatorships and the terrible story of ‘The Missing’ from his own country, Argentina where 30,000 people ‘disappeared’ under the military junta. The UNI America’s Regional Secretary pointed out that we are seeing a new wave of right wing populism in the Americas and that this was a clear warning to Africa, particularly the attacks on unions.
He argued, “What we demand in Africa is what we are demanding in Americas, freedom of association, collective bargaining and decent work. But we must be intelligent in our approach.
We are losing political references. We must build power because our political parties do not have workers at heart. We must create parties that have programmes that deliver for workers.
We are united. Let’s work together, Africans and Latin Americans, so that we do not fall victim to modern slavery.”