Hundreds of thousands of people returned this Sunday to the squares of all Cuban provinces to celebrate International Workers’ Day, in what was the first massive political event on the island after a two-year forced pause due to the pandemic. of coronavirus.
The central act for the celebration was held in the Plaza de la Revolución in Havana, where the parade began with a block of workers from the Public Health sector and the state business group BioCubafarma, responsible for the preparation of vaccines against COVID -19 created by national scientific institutions.
Cuban flags, banners, slogans alluding to the date and high-decibel Caribbean music set the pace for the celebrations in the Cuban capital, where thousands of people paraded in 17 blocks from different sectors, including groups of employees from all ministries, institutions and state companies, the Central Bank and the Supreme Court, each group carrying a banner with the name of its workplace.
The event was presided over by the Cuban president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, and his predecessor, Raúl Castro, together with senior officials of the Government and the Communist Party.
Before starting the parade, the general secretary of the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC, the only legal union), Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, affirmed in a speech that Cuba “lives and works from creative resistance.”
The union leader pointed out in his message that the international context is “complex and challenging” and denounced the increase in hostility and the economic blockade of the United States against the Island as “the main obstacle” to its development.
More than a thousand international delegates from 60 countries and representatives of 219 organizations and associations also participate in the parade, according to the organizers.
These international representatives assured that it was “very emotional” to witness the celebrations for May 1 in Havana, while others described as “an inspiration” the possibility of sharing with the Cuban people and supporting them in their fight against the economic blockade of the United States. .
The images of crowded squares were repeated in all the provinces and municipalities of the country. In Santiago de Cuba, for example, the Cuban News Agency reports that around 320,000 people paraded in an act headed by Vice President Salvador Valdés Mesa.
Cuba resumed the massive parades, prevented until now by the coronavirus pandemic, after considerably reducing infections thanks to the immunization campaign carried out with the Abdala and Soberana vaccines, all of its own creation.
In recent days, some two hundred new cases of COVID-19 have been registered daily and the experts who advise the Cuban government on this matter consider that these figures will remain stable in the coming weeks, even falling.
The Minister of Public Health, José Ángel Portal Miranda, who participated in the Pinar del Río parade, called for the personnel of the health system to participate en masse in the festivities.
“This Sunday, let us fill the squares of the entire country with joy, with the commitment that distinguishes the workers of our sector, all of whom are essential in the unparalleled battle for life that Cuba has given in the last two years,” said the minister.
Likewise, this is the first mass act after the anti-government protests of July 11, which is why it represented an opportunity for the Cuban authorities to demonstrate their convening power.
However, the call came at a time when some of the causes of those demonstrations persist, such as the serious economic crisis affecting the country, with supply problems, blackouts and high inflation.
This situation is the result of the combination of the consequences of the pandemic, the tightening of US sanctions and failures in national macroeconomic management.
OnCuba/EFE Editorial Office.