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On the scene report from International Workers Day in Cuba

Hundreds of thousands march for socialism
By staff |
May 1, 2013
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See a photo essay from the May 1 march in Havana here.

Havana, Cuba - The skies were still dark in the early morning of May 1 as crowds of Cuban workers began gathering in the Plaza of the Revolution to march on International Workers Day. Before long, throngs of workers carrying flags and signs with revolutionary slogans stretched as far as the eye could see. A leader of the Cuban Workers Federation (CTC), which organized the event, said 600,000 people marched in Havana, with other large marches in cities around Cuba as well.

The signs carried by marchers varied from large banners to small hand-written signs. Cuban flags were everywhere. Some sections of the crowd carried signs representing their industries, unions and other organizations saying "Viva el 1 de mayo" (Long live May 1st). Many carried signs of support for deepening the Cuban revolution and socialism.

One main theme of the march was "for a prosperous and sustainable socialism." Another important theme was celebrating the upcoming 20th congress of the Cuban Workers Federation. However Cuba wasn't the sole focus. A central theme of the march was also celebrating the life and legacy of Venezuelan revolutionary leader Hugo Chavez.

International solidarity was also on display with the presence of delegations of unions and socialist forces from 73 countries, including most of the Americas as well as many countries from Europe, Africa and Asia. Despite the U.S. government's efforts to impede travel to Cuba, workers from various unions in the U.S. were present as well. These trade unionists are in Cuba as part of the U.S./Cuba Labor Exchange, which has organized worker-to-worker solidarity with Cuba for over 20 years.