Cuba Ready to Celebrate International Workers’ Day

By Jancel Moreno

Our Strenght is in Unity. Long Live May Day!

HAVANA TIMES — For days now, the official Cuban media hasn’t stopped telling us how the country prepares to fill the streets on May 1st, International Workers’ Day.

Programs such as the Cuban TV news, show footage of workplaces full of flags, signs and banners where you can see the slogans that are repeated year after year with messages that have nothing to do with the choice of many of those who carry them in the crowded march.

However, the most ironic thing is when we hear workers reciting short speeches that they’ve learned by heart in front of rolling TV cameras.

If we take a step back from what’s being depicted by Cuban government media to the rest of the world, and we ask any worker away from the TV cameras, we’ll find answers which are very hard to listen to such as that which Juan Orlando Perez, an employee at the Nico Lopez Refinery, told me.

“I have to go because they warned me early this morning that those who don’t go might as well kiss their bonuses goodbye and I have a daughter who I have to support.”

Yolanda Puig took a similar attitude, a lady who forms part of the Etecsa telephone company’s commercial office union local in the Alamar neighborhood, when she said: “I really don’t want to go, because it doesn’t make any sense, but believe me, I prefer to walk around the square a little bit than bear the pressure from my boss and much less lose a part of my salary.”

From May Day 2014.  Photo: Elio Delgado Valdes

However, a young member of Cuba’s Union of Young Communists (UJC), Angel Manuel Martinez, a resident in the town of Regla, assures me that he will attend the march wholeheartedly, because it’s his first workers’ march.

Without a doubt, all of the country’s squares will be taken over by diverse herds of people on the morning of Monday May 1st, made up of workers, students and other sectors of society, some of whom are apparently being forced while others, like Angel Manuel, will celebrate the occasion.

Divided into 16 groups in Havana, those who will march soon through the square are ready. They will be led by the UJC bloc, under the slogan: “Our Strength is in Unity.”

3 thoughts on “Cuba Ready to Celebrate International Workers’ Day

  • What potential Cuba has and to think they’re celebrating incompetence and a depressed society. I guess the upper echelon are living large but from what I see, outside of the self employed, there’s little joy working in Cuba.

  • The May Day March in Cuba has devolved into a cliche. 95% of the marchers are there by force. Raul himself, never a fan of giving public speeches, has recently delegated the main speech to some other, and even more boring, octagenarian. No doubt many of the marchers are having fun. But why not? The march usually means a day off or at the very least a half day away from the job. But the whole worker solidarity BS? That’s the biggest joke of the day.

  • Jancel Moreno speaks of the Cuban media promoting May Day for “days”. Promotion of the event actually started on Cuban TV on April 1st – All Fools Day – and the government buildings at all levels have had banners promoting the event displayed across their frontages for a similar period. Under the direction of the Propaganda Department of the PCC, the workers union, government employees and MININT will ensure that an appropriate mass of the proletariat is assembled to march to Revolution Square. Aged buses and trucks will haul those directed from afar.
    It will however be interesting to see who is lined up behind Raul Castro Ruz on the stage. Will Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez give a speech to confirm his intended appointment as President by Raul in 2018. If so, will Diaz-Canel break with his usual public image and actually smile? Will there be guests? – How about Nicholas Maduro or Delce his pathetic Chancellor.?
    The Propaganda Department will as usual distribute banners, pictures supporting the cult of the personality and Cuban flags. When its all over, the participants will wearily trail home with the relief of knowing that they don’t have to do it again for 364 days!

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