August 24, 2015

Wyden Meets with Labor Representatives in Guatemala, Explores Trade and Diplomatic Opportunities in Cuba, Argentina

Wyden is First Member of Congress to Visit Reopened U.S. Embassy in Cuba


Oregonians Dion Glisan and Daniel Bailey, of USAID, meet with Sen. Wyden in Guatemala City

Washington, D.C. – Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., met with Guatemalan labor representatives about the importance of enforcing labor laws and strengthening protections for workers as part of a week-long visit to Guatemala, Cuba and Argentina, from Aug. 15-23.

Wyden met with officials from the Center for Rural Workers and the Solidarity Center and a leading labor attorney on Wednesday, August 19.

“Guatemalan labor leaders made clear that our trade agreement can be a strong force for improving conditions for workers in Central America, but only if the U.S. holds our trading partners accountable,” Wyden said. “When companies in Guatemala don’t pay minimum wages, or put their employees in unsafe conditions, U.S. workers and businesses also suffer. This visit reinforced just how important it is to include strong labor protections in our trade deals, and to make sure the U.S. follows through with robust enforcement of those rules.”

While in Guatemala, Wyden also met with U.S. Ambassador Todd Robinson, Guatemala’s attorney general and USAID workers, including Oregonians Daniel Bailey and Dion Glisan.

On the first leg of the visit, Wyden traveled to Cuba to explore new opportunities for Oregon businesses, and the potential for expanded diplomatic ties to improve human rights. He met with top officials for foreign affairs, energy and trade, and viewed a Cuban forest restoration project.

“This was my second visit to Havana, and this time around there was clearly a feeling of change in the air.  Ordinary Cubans are excited about the prospect of better relations with the United States,” Wyden said. “Opening up trade with Cuba would benefit U.S. exporters, particularly agricultural producers who are anxious to be able to compete with Canada and other foreign suppliers on a level playing field.  It would also benefit the Cuban people, who would have much to gain from the exchange of ideas and technology.”

Finally, Wyden traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to meet with Argentinian lawmakers and business leaders about the prospects for broadening U.S. economic and diplomatic ties. Wyden also met U.S. Ambassador Noah Mamet and other embassy officials.