The 1 is a Rifle / Rosa María Rodríguez Torrado

Unity, Firmness and Victory. From

The same thing that any patriot wrote about the first of May in recent years is valid now. The anniversary dressed in red, with the Internationale hymn charming the main characters, the voices of ardent presenters that rekindle and complement the megashow of praise of the brother leaders of the 1959 Revolution, and the multitude with its plain of current and past banners in keeping with the customary and established military.

It is true that now this day and the ensuing march have been civilized a little in our country. Skillfully and by the connotation of the military term they replaced the parade with a march or concentration. Until some years ago the event was very martial and the government took advantage of the occasion to show “the unity” of the people — as if all Cuba were concentrated on the plaza — and to reaffirm the power of the army, which made it seem more a military mobilization than a civic commemoration of the Day of the Workers. But what can we expect from a model in which the unions are allies of the administration and the leaders of the only party?

Nevertheless, among the re-used slogans, propaganda and demands that the government is accustomed to putting in the voices and the posters of the people, the images of Lenin, Marx, Engels, Fidel, Che, Raul, Camilo and Chavez, my attention was called by a single voice that asked to put an end finally to the “blockade” without specifying if they referred to the United States or the governmental policy that this society has submitted to since mid-century.

In contrast, we Cubans could see in the national television news that in Russia too there was a great manifestation that international press agencies reviewed. The happiness of the participants and the language of two interviewees showed the spontaneity of the conglomerates that in their liberated joy substituted the uniform red flags of days gone by with colored balloons in adiverse celebration that they shared with their leaders marching next to them, not watching comfortably from a platform. Our most authentic celebration will take place when at that plaza, which still has not known democracy, Cubans voluntarily gather in a pluralistic celebration that unites us in a rich and fruitful diversity.

So while they bring groups and floats and in one part the participants were infected by some conga, for Cubans in general — like the logotypes traditionally used for this date — the “1″ symbolizes the rifle pointing at more than fifty years of the freedoms and fundamental human rights of our people and working masses.

May 8 2012