Raul Castro Observed May Day Parade Supporting his Gov.

May Day parade in Havana's Revolution Square. Photo: Roberto Garaicoa/ Cubadebate
May Day parade in Havana’s Revolution Square. Photo: Roberto Garaicoa/ Cubadebate

HAVANA TIMES — President Raul Castro and other Cuban officials presided over the annual parade in Havana to celebrate International Workers’ Day and pledge support for the government and its leaders, reported dpa news.

The leaders, at the foot of the Jose Martí Memorial in Havana’s Revolution Square, watched as tens of thousands paraded by in the traditional show of support.  Raul Castro was accompanied by senior representatives of government and the Communist Party, including First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel and historical veterans of the Cuban Revolution.

“We celebrate International Workers Day today throughout the country with a popular mobilization in all the squares and avenues,” said Ulises Guilarte, general secretary of the Central Workers Confederation of Cuba (CTC), the only labor organization allowed the island.

Similar events were held in other Cuban cities, including Holguin and Santiago de Cuba in the east.

The May 1 parades in Cuba are dissimilar from other countries where workers make visible their labor demands.  Instead, in Cuba, the annual event is used to support the Castro government and its policies.

In addition to thousands of public employees, a group of “self-employed” workers also took part in the parade.  Beside them marched groups of students, teachers and athletes, as well as doctors and other health workers.

According to the official newspaper “Granma”, the Havana event drew some 2,000 visitors from other countries, mostly members of solidarity groups with the Cuban government.

Those parading carried posters with the faces of Raul and Fidel Castro, as well as former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who was a close ally of the Cuban government.


32 thoughts on “Raul Castro Observed May Day Parade Supporting his Gov.

  • My “ad hominem attacks” are never mean-spirited and always intended to provoke a smile from everyone. But I take your point.

  • Moses. I don’t ever recall Emagicmtman ever saying anything personal about anyone commenting on these boards. And you are quick to reproach people for ad hominem attacks. Sorta hypocritical isn’t it ?

  • …and yet look at how you turned out. O wait….

  • Just one pink slip or one jail cell is enough. The Castros govern by intimadation.

  • Cuba is not the People’s Democrtatic Republic of Korea, but only because people have resisted the attempts of the government, if the Castro government had a choice, totalitarian would be their way or ruling, as it is, is close enough. supporting the Cuban government is nothing to be proud off, they have caused the separation of families, have removed human choices from their people. What gives them the right to dictate for so long on what is best for all?, if they were so secured on their system and ideology, why so much oppression?

  • When you marched yourself in Havana, did you find yourself better dressed, better fed than those around you?; did you find that at the end, not everyone had a choice of coming and going like you?;at the end of the marched, did you have enough cash on you to eat at a local restaurant or to drink at a local bar if you wished?; at the end of the marched did you noticed that not everyone had choices like you?

  • Dan are you presently living in Cuba, sounds like you are going and coming, and from your earlier posting sounds like your Cuban wife is living abroad too. If the US has been so bad for you, what are you still doing here, renounce your citizenship and go join the revolution.
    I think is great when someone throws in an opinion based on vacation time they had in Cuba.

  • Moses, have you stopped to think how many jail cells, pink slips ( or whatever consequences you fantasize that there are for not marching) there would have to be for all the Cubans who don’t participate ? Your assertion falls apart exposed to the light of common sense.

  • I, too, was fortunate enough to participate in a May Day march (back in 2006, where I heard one of Fidel’s final public speeches). No one who I spoke to that day was required to attend. Many did because they supported the Revolution, or perhaps because of the other inducements: entertainment–the program in Revolutionary Square began with music and dance, refreshments, a day off, socializing with friends, etc. Many participated because of both support and/or the other amenities mentioned. I doubt that either their local CDR’s, or workplace PCC cadres were, like Santa Claus, keeping lists of “Who was naughty and Who Was Nice,” especially since, during the event, folks tended to drift from one group to another, arrive late, leave early, etc. As usual, those who say that such totalitarian controls have always been in place either left Cuba in earlier decades. Cuba is not the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea–and never has been. Cuba is Cuba.

  • In relation to the “Pledge of Allegiance,” or at least similar requirements, in my high school (Palmetto, in Miami, circa early 1960’s) after the Pledge of Allegiance” we were required to read a verse in the Bible. Since I was a troublemaker even in those days, on the day it came my turn to read the Bible verse, instead, I informed the class that I would be reading a small excerpt from “Some Mistakes of Moses,” by Robert Ingersoll (an infamous atheist from the 19th Century)and “Col.” Piper, my home room teacher said “No you won’t!” and remanded me to the principal’s office! This began a long ordeal too boring to go into here.

  • Dan, stop lying. It is simply not true that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is comparable to Cuban government workers compelled to attend the May 1 march.

  • How naive you are dear Moses. I suppose that if you always conform to what you are supposed to conform to, and support what you are supposed to support, than you really believe that what you say is reality.

  • Well you probably think that DDR was better the west Germany. Mean while I live in exile with my family because I don’t have a choice to vote for anyone else that the Castro dynasty. It’s very easy to support the Castro dictorioship and live in Canada in freedom.

  • Not everyone Dan. But even if there is only one, that’s one too many. No one was forced to go to the Stones concert. You should quit while you are ahead. Defending the May Day March in Cuba is a lost cause.

  • Nice try Dan. Here’s the difference. If a child opts to remain silent and not recite the pledge, there’s no chance his folks will lose their job. His chances of getting into college are not put at risk and there is no neighborhood watch captain who will write the child’s name down for not reciting the pledge. In Cuba, workers are required to attend. If they make a stink about it, bad things happen. Now do you understand?

  • Side note to Mr. MacDuff, glad you’re posting and thriving.

  • Olga, do you really believe that ? I have been going to Cuba for 23 years. My wife is Cuban. She comes from a family of workers, who support the government, none looking to get into university or anything else. I have met hundreds of people over the years. many who support the Revolution, and many who do not. I know many who support the Revolution who DON’T go to the Plaza. The idea that everyone there is being coerced is ludicrous.

  • When are you going to stop going to Cuba ?

  • I for one am not at all surprised that you Dan have marched in Havana, no doubt to show your ‘solidarity’ with the Castro family regime and communism. But you must necessarily expect those of us who support freedom of the individual, freedom of the press, open free elections, to oppose your views. When are you moving to Cuba?

  • Please. If people don’t go they become suspicious, ppl are afraid to stand up as opposed or ”contrarevolutiory“ they probably have families and kids they want to send to college and they know the dictadura would use them as hostages or black mail. This is a show a coarse show for people like you to believe the grand and longer more repressive dictadura in Latino America. Think about it. nobody is demanding anything, no bigger salary, no better conditions, or work safety. Nothing everyone is supporting the government. I hope you are a smart person and think about it

  • Except, Tanya, that polls in the damaliges DDR consistently show that approximately half the people asked have on-the-whole, favorable opinions about life in that disappeared country. And he DDR did not just fall of it’s own weight. It received a hefty shove from the BRD and the West as well.

  • I have a Cuban family. I believe that what you see as indifference is acquiescence. After 3 generations, the Cuban people have given up. Why express anger when it will at best come to no end and at worst, get you imprisoned? What you are saying was said by White slave owners about their slaves in 19th century America.

  • Ben, then WHO does this march in Cuba mean something to? Please don’t say the tens of thousands of Cuban workers who get to take the day off from work. That’s very true but it’s not what we are talking about.

  • I don’t know. I’ve travelled all around Cuba on different occasions and you don’t get a sense of anti-government sentiment from the people you meet. Although there are shortages of a lot of basic necessities they seem to have pride in their country. You always get a smile and I find them modest and pleasant. Not a lot of anger like you find in the US. I believe their participation in the May Day Parades is willing and enthusiastic. The hatred that spews out from some of the posts on this site is amazing.

  • Unlike many HT commenters, I,ve actually marched myself in Havana, for this holiday, which interestingly, started w/ the repression of US workers in 1888, and which has been purposely airbrushed from American,s historical knowledge. I disagree that marchers are not there of their own volition. What about reciting the pledge of allegiance everyday for 12 years w/ it’s incredible “justice for all” ? Who believes that ? Yet all mouth it. Does that mean we live in a totalitarian society too ?

  • Why not have daily May Day parades for the tourists? Disney would.

  • in the Soviet Union and in Eastern Germany people were marching in support of their leaders when it all fell overnight. Paper ideology.

  • Osmel writes “Likewise it is foolish to believe that those who obey the order to participate actually believe in it.” How sad is this? Being ordered to participate in a parade. Nonetheless, the Castros intent to show the world the solidarity of the Cuban people with the Castros is effective. Commenters who frequent this blog often believe that the Cuban people support the revolution. That really is foolish.

  • Isn’t it ironic that the more repressive the regime, the larger the turnout.

  • George, you mean it means nothing to you.

  • Scary, real scary!

  • Means nothing.

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