14ymedio, Havana, 26 April 26, 2023 — “If this is going on in Havana, what will happen in the countryside?” asks a man from Camagüey after Cimex announced the reorganization of gas stations in the capital on Tuesday. The fuel shortage, despite the arrival of oil tankers in the ports of the Island, is at the limit, and Cubans know this after the Government’s decision to suspend the May Day parade, the most important annual event for the regime.
Cimex issued a press release to give an image of transparency and to call for calm, but customers understood little about a text that delegates to others measures that aren’t taken.
Guarantee the constant flow of sales by increasing turns, appoint people to organize the work at each gas station, remind the branch heads that they must inform the population, organize “quick response services,” handle customer complaints, strengthen collaboration with the authorities to act if necessary … a whole list of empty ideas. The population barely understood one of the measures, the only tangible one:
“There is a ban on the sale of fuel in any type of container, except in vehicles for transport, up to the established limits,” says one of the “organizing actions.” The people of Havana also sensed what can be expected from the vague final proposal.
“A system has begun experimentally to improve the organization of the gas lines together with the factors of the community, and a computer application with the same purpose is in the process of being tested,” concludes the Cimex note. Hours later, in the Havana Tribune, the president of the Popular Council of Rampa, Pedro Lizardo, was praised as “a self-sacrificing, disinterested and hard-working person,” who created a WhatsApp group to manage the issue.
“It will no longer be necessary to spend whole days and early mornings to acquire fuel. In that application, the amount of fuel received by Cupet will be given and the number of cars that it can serve. That is, you get on the list, take your number, and you shouldn’t go until you consult WhatsApp, where you can see the numbers for the people who can get fuel,” celebrates the author, who asks for a very tall order for the country.
But on social networks, praise was as scarce as the gasoline. “I understand that it’s 10 gallons per car,” one user said. I have a Polaco car; the tank is small and I can only put in 5 and will lose the other 5 gallons because I can’t bring a container. So they get the other 5, and the abuse continues,” he concluded, supported by another user.
People are burning with anger, but Ulises Guilarte, secretary general of the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC), attended the television program Mesa Redonda to talk about the cancellation of the May Day parade. He called for the development of substitute activities “with a vision that embraces the values of patriotism, unity, joy and commitment.”
The official press has dispatched with 230 words the cancellation of the festivities, and although Granma has published the article on the front page, the authorities focus on downplaying an annulment that indicates that appearances can no longer be maintained.
Guilarte reiterated at prime time what he had already advanced hours before and asked for a maximum call to turn “the celebration into full grandstands of people denouncing the criminal economic-commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States Government and the inclusion of Cuba on the list of countries sponsoring terrorism.”
May Day, which is celebrated in many countries around the world, is a day for workers led by unions, who focus on asking governments and employers for improvements in labor and salary rights or legislative changes that affect them.
In Cuba, however, the day must “show support from the CTC and the unions, for the advancement and improvement of the Socio-Economic Model of Socialist Development and its work of respect for human rights and for the implementation of public and inclusive policies of equity and social justice, which become a shield to face the imperial onslaught in its pretensions to undermine national identity and fracture our roots from cultural colonization, disrespecting the symbols and sacred values of the Homeland,” said the union leader, who is, of course, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Cuba.
He dedicated himself, however, to expressing his solidarity with the workers who “live in conditions of exploitation and discrimination, in contexts impacted by the crisis of the capitalist system and its neoliberal policies,” forgetting that those comrades will come out, unlike Cubans, to fight for their rights in their respective countries.
Alfredo Vázquez, secretary of the CTC in Havana also wanted to call on the heroic people of the capital to participate in acts convened on the Malecón, which he referred to as a “space of mobilizations to patent Cuba’s right to its sovereignty and independence and marches of the fighting people to demand the return of the child Elián González and the Five Heroes among other significant events of our history.”
Vázquez dared to predict the participation of 120,000 habaneros, which might seem like a lot to the audience until he added that they were coming from “selected municipalities,” eliminating any concession to the belief that May Day in Cuba would be spontaneous. They will be joined by more than 1,000 foreign delegates and decorated workers for the occasion.
“A colorful, compact and enthusiastic event is expected where workers express in a diverse way with their own initiatives their motivations in support of the Revolution,” he summarized to an audience more concerned about the advance of the gas line than about a celebration that won’t happen.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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