As May Day Nears in Cuba

Elio Delgado Legon

Photo from last year’s May Day parade in Havana.

HAVANA TIMES — Since the triumph of the Revolution, Cuban May Days have been veritable festivities for workers, who parade by the millions, not only in Havana, but in all of the nation’s provincial capitals and most of its municipalities.

In clear contrast to what took place before 1959 and continues to take place in most capitalist countries, Cuban workers do not raise banners making their demands, or rally in protest over budget cuts to public health and education.

Nor do they demand that jobs be made available to them, so as to lower unemployment rates, which, in many countries, describes a fourth of the workforce and sometimes as much as fifty percent of young people of working age.

Cuba can boast of having no unemployment, for, while it is true that some institutions have trimmed their payrolls in search of economic efficiency, other workplaces report a shortage of labor. True, this may be an uncomfortable situation for many workers, but the truth is that the Cuban Revolution has not abandoned anyone.

The Cuban workers who parade on May Day do so in support of the Revolution, and the banners they raise express nothing other than this support, and the demand that the embargo that the United States has imposed on Cuba for over 50 years be lifted once and for all.

Though some may accuse me of spreading propaganda, my one interest is to portray Cuban reality truthfully, to reflect a reality that is often ignored or distorted by the international media. Today, I want to convey to my readers the feelings that surround Cuba’s May Day celebrations, the festive spirit with which Cubans express their support for the Revolution.

Over the last 14 years, one of the chief demands that Cuban workers have written across their banners is the petition to free and repatriate five Cuban anti-terrorist activists, who were detained and sentenced to long prison terms in the United States for crimes they did not commit, activists who had merely monitored terrorist organizations that were plotting violent actions against both Cuba and the United States, whose work prevented the execution of such actions and saved the lives of many innocent people.

Thousands of young people also participate in these parades, not in order to demand free, quality education, as is the case in other countries, but to express their support of the Revolution.

May Day parades in Cuba provide a stark contrast to those of numerous countries, where crowds are violently repressed by the police for the “crime” of demanding their rights as workers.

As May Day nears in Cuba, one begins to note a festive spirit in the air. In many provinces, the occasion is celebrated with popular festivities, concerts by renowned performers and different activities prepared to acknowledge the work of outstanding workers or the fulfillment of a production plan in the region.

On many occasions, over a million workers, students and people from all walks of life have paraded through the capital in a show of their enthusiastic and unconditional support of the Revolution.

In clear contrast to what took place before 1959 and continues to take place in most capitalist countries, Cuban workers do not raise banners making their demands, or rally in protest over budget cuts to public health and education.

This year, it is said that the parade will be headed by workers from the science and technology sector, which did not exist before the Revolution and whose degree of development, today, places it among the country’s most economically significant spheres.

Workers from the tourism sector, today the locomotive which drives Cuba’s economy forward, a sector which continues to grow and develop, will also swell the long May Day procession.

Union leaders and members of workers’ organizations from many different parts of the world also join the parade, doing so, as many of them have declared on more than one occasion, to bask in the enthusiasm and joy of the Cuban people.

Though some may accuse me of spreading propaganda, my one interest is to portray Cuban reality truthfully, to reflect a reality that is often ignored or distorted by the international media. Today, I want to convey to my readers the feelings that surround Cuba’s May Day celebrations, the festive spirit with which Cubans express their support for the Revolution.


3 thoughts on “As May Day Nears in Cuba

  • May 1, 2013 at 4:48 pm
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    A most amusing article.

    Unemployment is a serious problem in some though by no means all “capitalist” countries. But, I’m pretty sure that unemployed workers and youth drawing social benefits in Greece and Spain still have a much better standard of living than all but a few Communist party sanctioned union bosses in Cuba.

    How else do you explain people from “capitalist” countries visiting Cuba in such large numbers that tourism is becoming the locomotive of your economy?

  • April 30, 2013 at 10:01 am
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    The Workers’ Central Union of Cuba defines its mission as representing the wishes of the ruling party to the workers. The CTC acts to ensure government policy is implemented in the workplace. This is the opposite of the role true workers unions exercise in most of the world, where the union represents the interests of their members to the managers and bosses.

    True, Cuba has very low unemployment. But that is only possible because the Cuban government pays workers so little, nothing would be saved by putting them on the dole.

    The CTC: one big union, under the control of the government boss.

    What did that guy say? Oh right, “Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but everything.”

  • April 30, 2013 at 7:28 am
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    Hahaha! Elio is at it again. Here is the truth: Most Cubans are forced to attend the March. Roll is taken and if you don’t show up, there are sanctions. The reason Cubans don’t raise banners demanding higher pay and better conditions is because IT IS ILLEGAL! To do so would mean arrest, loss of your job and probably worse. Science and technology existed and flourished before 1959. What Elio won’t tell you is that one-third of Cuban scientists left Cuba after the revolution because of Castro’s repressive government. Elio wrote: “Cuba can boast of having no unemployment, for, while it is true that some institutions have trimmed their payrolls in search of economic efficiency, other workplaces report a shortage of labor.” This is complete bullsh*t! Real unemployment in Cuba is near 30%. The real problem is underemployment. Walk the streets of Havana’s outer neighborhoods during the day. You don’t have to be a demographer to see great numbers of working age people in the streets “resolving”. Elio is a classic Cuban propadandist. Hilarious!

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