Democracy Movement Calls Protest of American Airlines ‘Apartheid’ Against Cuban-American Employees

American Airlines launched its scheduled flights to Cuba on Wednesday 7 September. (AA)
American Airlines launched its scheduled flights to Cuba on Wednesday 7 September. (AA)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, 20 September 2016 — The Democracy Movement called a protest against American Airlines (AA) for Saturday 24, in response to the company’s apartheid towards its Cuban-American employees

The airline, according to information published in recent days, does not allow its workers who emigrated from Cuba after 1970 to serve on the crews of its flights to Cuba, because the Cuban government is requiring that they present, along with an American passport showing that they are US citizens, the Cuban government’s own paperwork that authorizes them to enter the country.

Ramon Saul Sanchez, president of the Democracy Movement, in statements to Diario Las Americas, said that this exclusion is applied to Cuban-Americans “with the deliberate intention [by the Cuban government] of receiving an additional income of 400 or 500 dollars [the cost of the paperwork] for each person traveling to Cuba.”

The leader of the organization said it has requested permission for the protest, to be held in front of the American Airlines Arena in Miami, since the airline “is allowing the Cuban government to practice a kind of apartheid against its own employees who are Cubans nationalized as Americans.”

Last April, the Democracy Movement organized a demonstration outside the headquarters of Carnival Cruises for a similar reason. The cruise company did not allow Cubans to travel on its ships because of a ban from the Cuban government on their entering the country by sea.

“Many voices joined the campaign, and Carnival changed its position. In the end, the company said that if it could not carry Cubans it would not sail to Cuba. That led the regime to overturning the old policy,” said Sanchez.

The exile told the media that their lobbying strategy includes dialog with the airline’s management in the coming week, the protest scheduled during a Disney event at the American Airlines Arena, and possible legal actions being studied by the organization’s attorneys.

“We are also asking AA to adopt the Sullivan Global Principals [whose aim is that companies and organizations of every size, and a broad spectrum of industries and cultural entities, work to achieve common objectives in human rights, social justice and economic opportunity] which worked in South Africa, and that they not associate themselves with the apartheid practiced by the Cuban government,” he added.

The Democracy Movement is not opposed to commercial flights to Cuba, “because they have brought a drop in prices and tariffs and now the Cuban regime earns less because of the competition.”