‘Propaganda Artist’ Tours Havana’s Agricultural Markets

On the eve of May 1, posters fill everything from state stalls to ’MSMEs’ connected to the regime

With a black marker and leaning on a weak cardboard, the “compañero” drew slogans / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, 30 April 2024 — With a cap, backpack and the gestures of an artist, a “compañero” – it is not known if sent by the Party or the municipal government – ​​walked around the agricultural market on 17th and K, in Havana, on Tuesday morning. With a black marker and leaning on a flimsy piece of cardboard, he drew a slogan, “Long Live May 1!”, surrounded by flourishes and shading.

Without paying much attention to the “propaganda artist,” the campesinos in charge of selling took the posters and hung them in their sales stalls. The scene, which is repeated every year on the eve of May 1st — Workers’ Day — was reminiscent of the Czech politician Václav Havel’s mockery about daily life in a dictatorship: the guajiro uses the sign not because he cares about what it says, but because it is a talisman to scare away the inspectors.

Neither the fuel crisis nor the “war economy” have prevented the Government from planning a May 1st in style. The date, the parade – which will be attended by hundreds of foreign “guests” – and the barrage of propaganda are one of the trademarks of the Island’s regime, whose cameras record the event to show the world its supposed popular support.

In several MSMEs in the capital, as well as in private businesses or companies that can afford it, there are no squalid signs like those on 17th and K but rather colorful banners. Showing their adherence to the system that allows them to exist and marching in its support is also a guarantee of survival. For their part, the Propaganda offices of the Communist Party, dedicated to printing signs and flags for these dates, have orders “a flor de piel.”

Showing their adherence to the system that allows them to exist and march in its support is also a guarantee of survival / 14ymedio

The official press has made its usual display of preparations. In Havana, for example, no one will be able to park their car on any of the streets that lead to the so-called Anti-Imperialist Platform of the Plaza de la Revolución. In Sancti Spíritus, the Communist Party newspaper published maps and diagrams, so that no workplace would be missed during the “proletarian anniversary,” and promised “recreational and cultural activities” to entertain those who go to the parade.

Tomorrow, all the media repeat, the workers of Havana will “demand” two things: that the United States remove Cuba from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism and that it end the blockade. Raising wages or solving the chaos of the economy can wait.


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