Interview with Antonio de Lisboa Amâncio Vale (CUT Brazil)

Antonio de Lisboa Amâncio Vale is International Relations Secretary at CUT Brazil and President of the CUT Cooperation Institute (IC-CUT)

The CUT founded its Cooperation Institute in 2012 to promote cooperation programmes and projects. What type of cooperation is the CUT developing?

Our priority is South-South cooperation, especially between countries of Latin America and Africa, for historical and political reasons. Our country is in Latin America and has strong ties with many African countries and the trade union movement there. We share similar histories and are faced with very similar challenges: the fights against the military dictatorships that established themselves in our countries, the resistance of the workers, trade union organisations and confederations. All this has brought us much closer together. Our ties with Africa are very old; they date back to the days of slavery and Brazil has an incalculable historical debt related to this past. In addition, we are part of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, which means we have also cultural ties, not only the language but our music, dance, etc.

So the IC-CUT’s cooperation is based on solidarity?

Yes, it is based on class solidarity, working class solidarity. We are convinced that the working class is international and, with the globalisation of capital, our struggles are becoming ever more international. We have to fight against the “financialization” of capital and the ever greater presence of multinationals in a world with growing inequalities. The fight to change all of this unites us and that is why we are working with organisations that, like us, are affiliated to the ITUC.

Could you give us a summary of the projects the IC-CUT is supporting?

In South America, we have carried out communication projects with CUT Chile, and a trade union education project, internalisation of the Centre and communication, with CUT Auténtica of Paraguay.

In Central America, we are developing a project in partnership with the CSN-Quebec, Alternatives – Canada, and the Basque organisation ELA, with CUT Honduras and CST in Nicaragua. It is a trade union education project covering a range of themes, including communications, young workers, women, social security, etc. In the Caribbean, we supported the ITUC-TUCA project in Haiti. We are also working with Sintracobal, in Costa Rica, and in 2014 we worked on a project with various trade union centres in El Salvador to build a Working Class Platform, a reference to the strategic struggles.

In Africa, we developed capacity building projects on occupational health and safety in Angola and we are currently supporting the Informal Economy Workers’ Association (AEIMO), an organisation affiliated to the OTM (Organizaçâo dos Trabalhadores de Moçambique) in Mozambique. We are also working with the OTM to develop the Pan-African Trade Union Education Programme (PANAF), an education programme that is already underway in 15 English and French speaking countries that is now starting in Portuguese.

Our cooperation in Africa also includes a project with the UNTC-CS to recover its Trade Union Education Centre, which is essential to the training of trade union leaders.

The IC-CUT has done a great deal in a short space of time, hasn’t it?

I think we could have done more if we’d had the support of the Brazilian state, but the CUT only has its own resources, so they are limited. But we are trying, together with other organisations, to negotiate with the government to bring about changes in the regulatory framework for cooperation.