Photo: Ikea Accused of Using Cuban Prisoners to Make their Products in the 1980s
Amid news that Swedish-based furniture company Ikea was looking to open a store in Puerto Rico, claims have surfaced saying Cuban dissidents and East Germans were forced to make its products.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), a German newspaper is reporting that they have discovered secret police files that detail a deal made between Sweden and Cuba in the late 1980s.
Using their trading connections, East German business representatives traveled to Havana to speak with the Cuban Interior Ministry. Head of the state company Emiat, Enrique Sanchez was then brought in. Emiat, which was tasked with furnishing the homes of Cuba’s elite politicians, reportedly made a deal for Cuba to produce 35,000 dining tables, 10,000 children’s tables, and 4,000 three-piece suites.
Cuban prisoners were allegedly the unwilling workforce used to make said products. This claim comes just a week after allegations that East German political prisoners were forced to do the same in the prior decade.
Ikea has said it is investigating the allegations made by FAZ and have asked to see the police documents, adding that they condemn the use of political prisoners in its production.
The documents the paper claims to have are said to be from the the East Germany official security service known to most as the Stasi.