The Military at GAESA Also Exploit Cuban Workers

trabajadores boicot hotel Paseo del Prado

HAVANA, Cuba. – So far, we knew that the tentacles of GAESA’s military leadership were appropriating the income generated by tourism activity in Cuba, and we also knew about the control they exert over ETECSA and Habaguanex, among others. There’s more: workers in these companies are not exempt from GAESA’s manipulation.

A recent article published in the weekly Tribuna de La Habana tells about the relationship between GAESA and a company that belongs to the Ministry of Construction which is dedicated to designing the hotel facilities that will later be managed by this Cuban emporium.

I am referring to Empresa de Proyecto de Obras de Arquitectura No. 2 (EMPROY- by its Spanish acronym). In spite of the obstacles caused by the coronavirus pandemic, this architectural design company was able to meet certain production goals in 2021.

It closed the year with revenue higher than projected, a positive correlation between the median salary and work productivity, as well as adequate designs for the University of Information Sciences; for residences at Plan Malecón; for the Flores Residential Development; and for the camping grounds at Villa Kuka and Marbella.

However, recently EMPROY-2 is facing a great exodus of qualified personnel that could interfere with its performance. We are talking about engineers, architects, designers and topographers who are transferring to other sectors of the economy to find better employment.

trabajadores cubanos
EMPROY-2, La Habana. Foto periódico Trabajadores

While it’s true that the Company has faced limitations with respect to transporting its personnel, in addition to a shortage of equipment and supplies that that are very important for the professional work of specialists. What’s more, there seems to be a consensus that the main cause of this “skills drain” are the very poor salaries that workers are paid, and especially those who are responsible for the design of hotels.

The Tribuna de La Habana article states that “when it comes to the design of a hotel, contracts to be signed with GAESA’s realty company -Almest S.A.- are onerous and agree on prices per room that are far below the going rates that are established.”

In other words, in spite of its great economic power to control the most productive and lucrative sectors of the Cuban economy, GAESA’s military elite will not pay what’s rightly due to the hotel designers that work for its ostentatious monopoly.

This way, they are part of the Cuban communist machinery that exploits Cuban workers. These are workers who either do not get paid what they deserve for their work, or they lack the necessary tools and means to perform their tasks. And let’s not even mention the many professionals who are on international mission abroad, or the workers who are employed by foreign companies who receive their salaries through Cuban government intermediaries.

Many are calling for EMPROY-2 to launch a search for new clients that will satisfy its expectations in better fashion, and pay sufficient funds to make it possible for its workers to receive decent and just salaries, under the protection of the alleged entrepreneurial autonomy that the Cuban government has granted state agencies. In other words, forget about its relationship with GAESA.

However, those who call for said move forget that GAESA is not just another company in Cuba. Even if it pays its counterpart badly; even if it breaks contracts; even if it violates whatever practice, GAESA will always be defended from the central levels of the economy. It is clear that no one in the nomenclature wants to pick a fight with General Luis Alberto Rodríguez López-Calleja.

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