Elio Delgado Legon
HAVANA TIMES — Millions of Cuban workers and their families rallied this May 1st at each of the country’s main squares and, at all parades, the support for the agreements reached at the recently concluded Congress of the Cuban Communist Party was evident.
In the capital, at Revolution Square, following a brief address delivered by the Secretary General of the Cuban Workers Federation (CTC), the parade began with a column of 40,000 workers in the education sector, who this year will also celebrate the 55th anniversary of Cuba’s literacy campaign (which turned the island into the first country in America free of illiteracy in 1961).
It was followed by a column made up by more than 50,000 members of the Health Workers Union, a sea of lab coats and white T-shirts expressing support for the revolution and socialism, the same men and women who have fought every day against death and saved thousands of lives (sometimes risking their own) in 60 different countries around the world.
Flags with the colors of the national emblem, giant portraits of the late trade union leader Lazaro Peña and slogans adorned Havana’s historic square, which saw more than half a million workers from 17 different CTC unions.
To demonstrate we Cubans are not alone in our struggle to build the prosperous and sustainable form of socialism our people deserve, numerous representatives of international organizations, Cuba solidarity groups from around the globe and many tourists who expressed their surprise at the enthusiasm with which Cubans take part in the May Day parades (having seen nothing similar in their own countries) also participated in the rally.
And they are right: in most capitalist countries where May Day parades are held, these are aimed at demanding improved working conditions and other demands. In many places, they are repressed by the police, which does not defend the workers, as they do in Cuba, but capitalist companies.
At the Jose Marti grandstand in Revolution Square, the representatives of trade unions from 68 different Latin American, Caribbean, African, Asian and European nations, as well as from the United States and Canada, were present to get to know Cuban reality and the challenges faced by the union movement, in support of the Cuban people and its revolution.
Slogans in support of the revolution and its leaders and the legitimate presidents of Venezuela and Brazil – Nicolas Maduro and Dilma Rousseff – as well as the demand that the economic, commercial and financial blockade the United States has imposed on Cuba for more than 50 years be ended, accompanied all of the columns that paraded in Havana and all provincial capitals.
Cuba’s youth, leader of many battles and guarantor of the future of the socialist homeland, closed the parade in the capital, bearing red, blue and white flags. Fifty thousand people, including students and young workers, sent a clear message to the enemies of socialism: you will never be able to rely on us to betray what has cost our people so much sweat and blood.
Before the parade, Alain Garcia, member of the provincial Young Communists League bureau, told the press that the occasion would be a good opportunity to ratify the people’s support for the agreements reached at the 7th Party Congress.
“At every square, we will ratify that history can never be forgotten, for we must always remember where we come from, where we are heading and what our final objective is, to continue building socialism,” the youth leader declared, and his expectations were fulfilled at all parades held in the country.
“For Cuba, Unity and Commitment,” was the slogan repeated by workers at all of the country’s squares, demonstrating the support of Cuba’s working class for the agreements reached at the recently concluded 7th Party Congress.