Is your IKEA furniture made in Cuba?
I never thought I'd say this but, despite my hate for his politics, I finally agree with Marco Rubio about something. The Florida senator has just issued a letter to IKEA after a German newspaper uncovered that some of the home furnishing giant's items may have been made in Cuba in the 1980s. Not only that but it seems that the IKEA furniture may have actually been made in Cuban prisons. Um WHAT?!
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Although I think the US's Cuban embargo needs to end after a pointless 50 years, I absolutely do not agree with using prisoners to make cheap furniture. Especially not in a repressive government like Cuba where, for all we know, half of the prisoners may have only been jailed for opposing the Castro regime. How is that any kind of fair?
But that's the point: it's not fair. It's inhumane. And I completely 100% agree with Marco Rubio, and five other Cuban-American politicians, who wrote in a letter to Mike Ward, head of IKEA North America, when they say:
It is the responsibility of every company to ensure that its products and their respective components are derived from responsible labor practices. They certainly should not derive from the dark prisons of authoritarian regimes that repress their own populations, including the denial of basic workers' rights.
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I agree with Marco that it IS the responsibility of every company to make sure that their products are made with the best labor practices possible. And I think anyone in my Cuban family can tell you that Cuba, especially in the 1980s, was definitely not the place that was treating their workers right. I'm astounded by this new revelation and am anxiously waiting for IKEA to do something about it. They need to apologize and they need to do it NOW. No excuses.
What do you think of the revelation that IKEA furniture may have been made in the prisons of Cuba? What do you hope they will do about it? Share with us in the comments below!
Image via markhoekstra/flickr