The World Federation of Trade Unions has denounced the US government for denying an entry visa to the WFTU General Secretary George Mavrikos, who had scheduled a visit for March 2018 to attend an event of the United Nations in New York, where he is a permanent representative of the WFTU. Mavrikos was also invited as the main speaker to an annual meeting of labour organisations and friends of the WFTU in Los Angeles.
A statement from the WFTU Secretariat says, “We followed all the proper procedures but unfortunately the persistent answer from the US authorities has been negative.
“This position of the US Department of State is anti-democratic and aims at preventing free trade union action and the strengthening of the militant trade union movement of the workers in the US. At the same time, it is deliberate discrimination against the WFTU and against its right to fulfil its role within the United Nations, a role that has played since 1945.
“US governments do not like the consistent anti-imperialist, anti-monopolist line of the WFTU, and they think that through anti-democratic prohibitions they will stop our internationalist action in favour of the peoples who struggle to decide on their own, in a free and democratic way, about their present and future. But they will never manage this, no matter how many anti-democratic, racist measures they take against the international militant trade union movement.
“We also addressed the US embassy in Athens without receiving a positive answer.
“The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece was also informed, but the coalition government of SYRIZA and of far-rightist ANEL neither wants nor is able to assure the right of free movement of the citizens of Greece to the US.
“At the same time, trade union organisations in the US sent a letter of protest to the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, but no reply has been forthcoming.
“The answer of the US authorities to all these legal actions we have been forced to take is that we should apply to be exempted from the “Terrorist Travel” system.
“These actions are provocative and unacceptable. The WFTU is a mass, class oriented, international Trade Union Organisation with 92 million members in 126 countries all over the world. Since its foundation, in October 1945 until today, its history is public and well known. It has never been servile towards imperialists or multinationals. Nor now will it sell its history.
“At the same time, the prohibition of entry of the WFTU General Secretary into the USA points out another question: How is it possible for international organisations to operate in the USA, since their government randomly sets out anti-democratic rules and arbitrary restrictions about visa issuing. We are awaiting with interest the position of the relevant services of the United Nations on this subject, since the USA prohibits the entrance of WFTU legal representative into the country where the United Nations Headquarters are located.
“On the basis of this situation we ask a legal visa to be granted to the General Secretary of the WFTU and all these discriminations against WFTU cadres to stop.
“We assure the workers of the USA that irrespective of any difficulties and obstacles, the WFTU will stand by their side in their struggles. Internationalism and solidarity are the unbeatable weapons of the working peoples.”