Cuban Government Cancels Traditional May Day Parade in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolucion

The authorities’ excuses about fuel shortages do not satisfy the population, who see, on the one hand, the endless lines at the gas station and, on the other, the wide avenues empty of vehicles. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger 14ymedio, Havana, 25 April 2023 — This year there will not be the usual large march and rally in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución to commemorate International Workers’ Day, next May 1. In its place, on Tuesday the general secretary of the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC) [Workers’ Central Union], Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, informed the country that the site of the event will be the capital city’s Malecón and small acts will multiply in other municipalities. The reason is, in the words of the official, “the complex economic situation that our country is going through and in particular the limitations with regards to the assurance of fuel.”

This has led, the official explained, to a “reformulation” of the celebration – whose festivities were also suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic – “maintaining its commemoration, but in conditions of rationality and maximum austerity.”

Thus, as of yesterday, Monday, Guilarte de Nacimiento explained, until the 29th there will be a “national day” (sic) to celebrate May Day, replacing “this great mobilization using means of transport as we traditionally did” with “the participation of the people in acts of the communities, bateyes*, popular councils, labor and student centers.” Of these events, the CTC secretary said, more than 3,000 have already been held in the country.

In the event on the Malecón, between 23rd and 19th streets, in the Plaza de la Revolución municipality, from 7 in the morning, the inhabitants of the municipalities of Cerro, Old Havana, Centro Habana, Playa and Plaza de la Revolución are summoned, while the rest will go to “emblematic places in the history of their respective municipalities.”

In total, the official media explain, there are 164 municipalities in the country in which the acts will be carried out “simultaneously” and “with all rationality.”

Gasoline shortages have increased on the island to such an extent that the authorities have had to come out publicly to offer excuses. Despite the arrival of tankers with all kinds of hydrocarbons in the main ports of the country, the director of Cuba Petróleo (Cupet), Néstor Pérez Franco, insisted that the island has problems with fuel imports, while denying the rumor that the regime is exporting gasoline in order to earn foreign currency.

The excuses do not satisfy the population, who see, on the one hand, the endless queues at the service centers and, on the other, the large avenues empty of vehicles. In the streets, many wondered, in days gone by when the crisis worsened, if the authorities were not saving fuel for May Day. Clearly not. There is no gasoline even for one of the most emblematic celebrations of the Revolution.

*Translator’s note: ‘Bateyes‘ traditionally referred to the settlements around  sugar mills.

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