Thousands of Cubans gathered in Havana Monday to show their support for the Cuban revolution and mark International Workers’ Day with a massive march.
The ceremony and parade at the iconic Jose Marti Revolution Square were headed by the secretary-general of the Cuban Workers’ Confederation, Ulises Guilarte, and Cuban President Raul Castro, who will leave office next February, making this May Day his last as president of Cuba.
In addition to marking International Workers’ Day, the thousands-strong march also demanded the end of the U.S. economic, financial and commercial blockade against Cuba and the return of the U.S military-occupied territory of Guantanamo Bay.
Young people carried signs that read “I am Fidel” with pictures of the former president of Cuba and head of the Cuban Revolution, just months after his death last November. About 50,000 young people were in the plaza, according to Granma, leading the May 1 march, which this year was dedicated to the country’s youth.
Guilarte said that Cuba will not renounce its right to social justice and will continue to fight with conviction against capitalism, which he said together with neoliberalism multiplies the challenges faced by countries of Latin American and the Caribbean.
As for relations with the United States, the Cuban labor leader said the ties between the two nations need to be developed on the basis of respect and mutual benefit, but that Washington shouldn’t expect that Cuba will make any concessions that will harm its independence and sovereignty.
“Because Cuba is ours, because our commitment is to a socialist, prosperous, sustainable and sovereign country, we are here representing the future in this crowded Revolution Square in Havana,” said university student Lillian Gonzalez to Prensa Latina.
Guilarte reaffirmed the unconditional support and solidarity of the Cuban people to the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela in the face of what he described as a right-wing offensive, diplomatic harassment and political manipulation against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador also held large marches on Monday in support of the labor gains by the socialist government leading their countries.
More than 1,600 foreigners from 349 trade union organizations in 86 countries also marched along with thousands of Cuban workers, according to Cuba Debate.