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Great Seal logo The Arcos Principles
As released by the Office of Cuban Affairs, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Department of State, February 16, 2000
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In 1994, the organizations operating in Cuba that are dedicated to defending human rights and promoting democracy drafted a set of "Principles for Foreign Investment in Cuba," or Arcos Principles. These principles are in response to the improper manner in which foreign investment takes place in Cuba. These organizations are appealing to the international community in general and particularly to those foreign investors that have operations in Cuba or are considering establishing joint ventures with the Cuban government to subscribe and become signatories of the Arcos Principles.

The Arcos Principles outlined below are intended to promote human rights and fair labor hiring and employment practices. They focus directly on those areas of labor relations and employment that the Cuban government routinely incurs violations in.

Principle I. Respect for the dignity of the Cuban people and for due process of law.

Each signatory will undertake actions to bring about the establishment of a State of Law in Cuba, with respect for due process, human rights, and the international labor conventions of which Cuba is a signatory.

Principle II. Respect for basic human rights. Equal rights and non-discrimination of the Cuban people in access to and use of facilities and in the purchase of goods and services, especially those normally reserved for foreign visitors or residents.

Each signatory of the Principles will proceed immediately to:

  1. Allow all Cubans access to and use of all public areas that are normally reserved to foreign visitors and residents: oppose adherence to and support the repeal of all laws that deny access to public areas reserved for non-Cuban.
  2. Allow all Cubans equal opportunity and access to purchase goods and services available to foreign visitors and residents.
Principle III. Equal and fair hiring and employment practices, with non-discrimination for reasons based on political considerations, sex, race, religion and age.

Each signatory of the Principles will proceed immediately to hire workers directly. Signatories that currently do not hire Cuban workers directly but contract with a Cuban entity for that purpose should seek to put an end to that practice. There should be no limitation on hiring nor government influence in hiring or termination.

Principle IV. Promotion of fair labor standards and the right of the Cuban workers to form labor unions and to receive fair wages.

East signatory of the Principles should proceed immediately to enact company regulations in accordance with internationally recognized fair labor standards. In particular, the following should be implemented:

  1. A work-day and work-week with reasonable limits. There should be no compulsory overtime or volunteer work, and an agreement to pay extra for overtime hours worked.
  2. Appropriate and comprehensive procedures for handling and resolving individual employee complaints.
  3. Provisions for dealing with termination of employment and disciplinary measures.
  4. Support for the right of Cuban employees to form their own associations and belong to governmental or independent unions.
Principle V. Improvement of the quality of the employee's lives outside the work place in such areas as: occupational safety and health, culture, and environmental protection.

Each signatory of the Principles will proceed immediately to:

  1. Ensure that the methods of production meet occupational safety and health standards.
  2. Support local NGOs in activities and projects designed to safeguard and protect Cuba's cultural patrimony.
  3. Take effective measures to protect the environment.
  4. Take appropriate measures to repair any environmental damage resulting from the joint venture's operations.
  5. Influence other multi-national corporations operating in Cuba to follow the Arcos Principles.
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