Cuba’s May 1st Parade: ‘The Buses We Haven’t Seen for Months are Here’

Buses on Carlos III avenue and Rancho Boyeros, which transferred the attendees of the May 1 concentration. (14ymedio).

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 1 May 2022 — This Sunday, a line with dozens of buses lined part of Carlos III and Rancho Boyeros avenues in Havana while the May 1 parade took place in the Plaza de la Revolución. The Government has paid special attention to this event, after its having been suspended for two years due to the pandemic, and the first parade to take place after the popular protests last July.

Starting at dawn, the buses were transporting participants to the parade and rally for Workers’ Day, especially from the outskirts of the city and from the provinces of Mayabeque and Artemisa. Cuba officialdom has wanted to immerse itself in the crowds, in what the official call itself warned that it could be the last parade with the presence of some historical figures.

Sheathed in his military uniform, Raúl Castro, 90, accompanied Miguel Díaz-Canel and other members of the Cuban Executive on the platform of the Plaza. The event began with the words of a television announcer who addressed the message to “internal and external enemies” to whom he reiterated the slogan “Vamos con todo” [Let’s go with everything] that has become the new official motto in recent weeks.

A day earlier, Díaz-Canel called on Cubans, from his social networks, to participate in the marches throughout the island. “We are going to return to our squares and streets after two years without a march,” he wrote and also published a video message in which he added: “We are going to paint together the landscape of unity and continuity, the landscape of a revolution in power. Vamos con todo to this first of May.”

Hundreds of people gathered in a park in El Vedado to go to the parade in the Plaza de la Revolución. (14ymedio)

The events began this Sunday after seven in the morning with a message from Ulises Guilarte, general secretary of the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba, the only union in the country. After his words, the parade began with healthcare workers and the scientific sector at the forefront.

The parade was held in the midst of a deep economic crisis that has hit the food supply and the availability of public transport especially hard, a situation that made many desist from joining the official march. In the workplace and among teachers, the calls not to stay at home have become more intense in recent days and have included warnings of reprisals for those who do not attend.

“I walked 13 minutes, measured by the clock, and the line of buses did not end,” a young man from Havana who passed by the parade this Sunday told this newspaper, although in the end he did not decide to join. “They have taken all the buses that we haven’t seen here for months to the streets.”

Calls have been made from dissident circles not to participate in the parade and, if they do, use the rally to demand labor demands and freedom for political prisoners. Numerous activists and independent journalists received threats and police summonses to warn them that they could not go out on the streets during the day.


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