February 9, 2018
As the World Federation of Trade Unions, we denounce the US government which has denied granting to the WFTU General Secretary George Mavrikos an entry visa to the US.
The WFTU General Secretary has scheduled a visit to the US for March 2018 to attend an event at the United Nations in New York, where he is a permanent representative of the WFTU, and to participate as main speaker in the annual trade union meeting of trade union organizations members and friends of WFTU that will take place the same month in Los Angeles, US.
We followed the procedure of ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) but unfortunately the persistent answer from the competent US government authorities was negative.
This position of the US Department of State is antidemocratic and aims at preventing free trade union action and the strengthening of the militant trade union movement of the workers in the USA. At the same time, it is a deliberate discrimination against the WFTU and against its right to fulfill its role within the United Nations, a role that has possessed since 1945. The USA governments do not like the consistent anti-imperialist, anti-monopolist line of the WFTU, and they think that through antidemocratic prohibitions they will stop our internationalist action in favor 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 discriminations they make against the international militant trade union movement.
We also addressed the embassy of the USA 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 USA.
At the same time, trade union organizations in the USA sent a letter of protest to the US Secretary of State, Mr. Tillerson, but until today no solution has been found.
The answer of the US competent authorities to all these legal actions that we undertook so as to be issued a visa, was that we should apply to be exempted from the “Terrorist Travel” System.
These actions are provocative and unacceptable. The WFTU is a massive, class-oriented, international trade union organization 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 betray its history.
At the same time, the prohibition of entry of the WFTU General Secretary into the US points out one more question. How is possible for international organizations to operate in the USA, since their government randomly sets out antidemocratic rules and arbitrary restrictions about visa issuing. We are awaiting with interest the position of the competent services of the United Nations on this subject, since the USA prohibit the entrance of the 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 just struggles. Internationalism and solidarity are the unbeatable weapons of workers and peoples.