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The celebration of a people carving out their own destiny: Fidel in every march, at every march

uno de mayo 300This May 1, from Cabo de San Antonio, in the far west of the island, to Punta de Maisí, on its easternmost coast, the country was transformed into a single banner of unity, commitment, and continuity

Fidel was everywhere this May 1. He was present in the faces of joyful children who didn’t want to be left out and came to march with their parents; he was there in the strong soldier wearing his medals proudly parading, in the decorated Hero of Labor, or the humble campesino holding a photo of the Comandante.

Fidel was also present in the thousands of Cuban women who expressed their gratitude for his efforts to ensure that they occupied their rightful place in society; in the scientists who recalled Fidel’s contributions to the field; in the educators who noted how, through his efforts and one of the most humane works of the Cuban Revolution, millions learned to read and write and in so doing became truly free.

Fidel was there, together with the heroic guerilla Che Guevara, who from his resting place in Santa Clara, continues to wage and win more battles than ever, just like the Comandante en Jefe stated that October day in 1997, when he returned to the city to be reunited with his friend.

Second Party Secretary José R. Machado Ventura, led the May day parade in Pinar del Río. Photo: CAN
Fidel continues to be the hope of a people, exemplified by the young person with an image of the Comandante wielding his rifle: he is the dream of Latin American redemption, as a Uruguayan trade union leader at the Plaza del Che put it.

May 1 was a day of celebration for the Cuban people, who know that the hero of Moncada, of the Granma expedition, the Sierra Maestra, and so many other historic feats, is not only present in Santiago de Cuba, but wherever there is a just cause to defend, a danger that threatens the homeland, an injustice to right or a solidarity mission to undertake.

Camagüey’s people marched with the spirit of Agramonte and the combativity of Camilo. Photo: Periódico Adelante
Camilo and Agramonete’s Calvary in Camagüey

Camagüey.– For a while now, old Armando has been among the first to arrive at the plaza to celebrate International Workers Day.

This has been his mission ever since he attended the first May Day parade in the province, 59 years ago, following the triumph of the Revolution and presided by none other than the legendary Comandante Camilo Cienfuegos.

On that day, Armando accompanied his parents on the massive, multitudinous march which passed through the city’s main avenues before arriving at Casino Campestre Park, where 50,000 people gathered to listen to a reading of Señor de la Vanguardia (a book which includes anecdotes about Cuban hero Camilo Cienfuegos).

The Revolution had triumphed just four months before and standing only a few meters from one of its main and most charismatic leaders, the 17-year-old was overcome with excitement.

The rebel leader’s character impacted Armando just as much as his words: “We must use all our time to unite, to support the Revolution, support the revolutionary measures being issued by our government every day…”

Since then, the night before, on the eve of every May 1, Armando sets his pocket watch, the same one he has always carried since he began working on the railroad, to await dawn close to the plaza, and be among the first in line to march.

Later, as if by the work and grace of an iron will, the old man’s aches and pains disappear while he waits to see “live and direct” the rest of the colorful blocs and greet friends as the parade passes through the plaza.

Armando’s friends include Remigio, an experienced campesino who works at a livestock cooperative and every year has the gratifying task, together with other agricultural workers, of closing the parade on horseback, in a bloc resembling the famous cavalry of War of Independence hero Major General Ignacio Agramonte.

President of the National Assembly, Esteban Lazo, marched with the people of Santiago de Cuba. Photo: Eduardo Palomares
Maceo calls, Santiago answers

Santiago de Cuba.– As the sun set along the Sierra Maestra, the outstanding General Antonio Maceo Grajales, seated atop his bronze steed, summoned the parade of over 350,000 Santiago residents to celebrate May Day in the Heroic City.

He did so with the right won by those brave compatriots who, over 150 years of struggle to achieve the island’s full freedom and sovereignty, secured this important date for Cuban workers and the general population, the worthy masters of the past, present, and future of the country.

This is a reality the empire, imbued with the impotence and fury of the anti-Cuban mafia in Miami, has never been able to accept. The empire that refuses to acknowledge the Cuban people who descended on the plaza from the early hours of May 1, to show their support, marching along the wide avenue, for the flags, songs, and images of Martí, Fidel and Raúl, whose work is now in the capable hands of Díaz-Canel.

More than marching, the people of Santiago danced and jumped as the two-hour parade made its way through the Antonio Maceo Plaza de la Revolución, filled, so it seemed, with the same spirit that is going into the over 200 social works underway in the lead-up to the 65th anniversary of the Moncada attack and to improve the quality of life of residents.

That’s how Santaigo de Cuba turned the spontaneous into a historic day, marked by expressions of support for the generational transition, commitment to the continuation of the socialist Revolution, and the legacy and example of Fidel and Raúl during the toughest battles.

The President of the National Assembly of Peoples’ Power Esteban Lazo Hernández, stated that, today is a special day because of the deep joy we feel and the message that unity will always lead to victory.

Reasons abound to celebrate May Day in Matanzas

Matanzas.– A radiant dawn broke over the province this past Tuesday. The wonder of the day could be felt in the magical allure of the peaceful bay. It was a beautiful morning this May 1, International Workers’ Day.

As the sun began to rise, with still an hour to go before the start of the parade, the streets were all ready full of people, and just like in other territories, many residents of the provincial capital were already up and awake.

A small, slightly bent, grey-haired old woman stands in her doorway of her home to watch the people as they march. According to the lady she was awoken at around 6am by a commotion in the street close to her house, as different trade unions and residents made their way toward the main platform, located along the bridge.

“Come in compañeros, you are welcome. There’s plenty of coffee,” she kindly and casually states to us, two reporters, in that oh so Cuban way.

“I never used to miss a May Day parade, but my legs aren’t what they used to be,” she mutters as she approaches with a jug of coffee.

By now you could hear the joyful voices of the people, and in the distance, as we make our way toward the crowd, we realize just how many people there are, all with joyful expressions, holding photographs, posters, and banners. Some 300,000 people throughout the province were expected to attend the march, according to Isdalis Rodríguez Rodríguez, secretary general of the Cuban Workers’ Federation (CTC) in Matanzas.

Just like everywhere else on the island, Cubans came out this May 1, to express their support for our socialism and its formidable work, as well as the Cuban Revolution, the very same that was launched 150 years ago.

This year May Day is being celebrated amidst a hive of activity as the city prepares to commemorate its 325th anniversary, this coming October 12 – yet another reason to celebrate on this International Workers Day.


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