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Massive May Day march in Cuba

By Richard Blake |
May 6, 2015
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 Lead banner at May 1 march in Havana.
Lead banner at May 1 march in Havana. (Fight Back! News/Staff)
 Cuban 5 marching on May Day.
 Raul Castro and Venezuelan President Maduro at Havana May Day rally.
Cuban 5 marching on May Day. (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Raul Castro and Venezuelan President Maduro with fists in the air at Havana May Day rally. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Havana, Cuba – On May 1, hundreds of thousands of Cuban workers marched through Revolution Square to mark International Workers’ Day. Marchers at the front carried the banner bearing the words of the Cuban Workers Federation (CTC) declaration at their most recent Congress: “United in the construction of socialism.”

The event began at the crack of dawn with a rousing speech by the CTC Secretary General Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento. He spoke of the important role that workers and their labor unions play in furthering the socialist revolution.

The CTC Secretary General continued, “Within a political context characterized by the U.S. government’s recognition that their policy of harassment, aggression and blockade toward our country has failed, some steps have been taken toward the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S. A long and difficult road, however, remains before us, and we will only advance toward normalization of bilateral ties on the basis of respect for the sovereignty and independence of Cuba, which includes the lifting of the blockade and the return of our territory illegally occupied by the Guantánamo Naval Base.”

Most of all, the CTC leader celebrated the bravery of Cuba's recently freed heroes, the Cuban Five. The Five were recently returned to Cuba from prisons in the U.S. after leading a counter-terrorism operation against Cuban exiles in Miami who were responsible for bombings in Cuba. The Five were invited to lead this year's march along with their families.

He went on to speak of Cuba’s support for Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution saying, “We firmly reject all external intervention there, as well as destabilization efforts, violence and economic war which violate the constitutional order, sovereignty, independence and self-determination of the Venezuelan people.”

Standing on a podium overlooking the crowd, Cuban President Raul Castro was accompanied by the President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro as they waved and cheered on the crowd. As the rain began to pour down, the Cuban people chanted in unison “Long live socialism” and “Long live free Cuba” and “Long live the Five.”

The huge numbers of people took several hours to march through Revolution Plaza. The gathering ended with the singing of the revolutionary workers' song, the Internationale. There was a special salute to “hundreds of friends from different trade union organizations, social movements and solidarity groups” from other countries. The Cuban people's May Day celebration of their victories and their determination to build socialism, serves is an inspiration to all who want a better world.