May Day in Havana Dedicated To Maduro, Interrupted by a US Flag
14ymedio, Havana, 1 May 2017 — The mobilization for the May Day parade
began in Havana before midnight the day before. With the first light of
dawn, the mass rally in Plaza of the Revolution began, with allusions to
the late President Fidel Castro, slogans about unity and an emphatic
commitment to the Government of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela.
Minutes before the parade began, Cuban opponent Daniel Llorente mocked
the security cordon and ran waving a US flag in front of the grandstand
while shouting several slogans and was quickly removed from the scene by
the security forces. It is not known whether he acted on his own or did
so on behalf of an opposition group.
Llorente held a similar demonstration a year ago, when the cruise ship
Adonia reached the coast of Cuba. On that occasion he was repressed by
the police, who removed him from the place.
The main speech was delivered by the general secretary of the Cuban
Workers Center (CTC), Ulises Guilarte De Nacimiento. A political cadre
aligned with the orthodoxy, he called for work to “generate greater
wealth, reduce prices and gradually lead to increases in income.”
The leader of the only union allowed in the country called for
“mobilization of leftist forces” in Latin America and rejected
“political maneuvers and diplomatic harassment” against the Venezuelan
government on the part of “the discredited Organization of American
States (OAS) And other reactionary sectors of the region.”
“We support the military civic union led by President Nicolás Maduro,”
emphasized Guilarte De Nacimiento in the middle of a speech without news
or announcements. During most of the event Raul Castro remained seated
on the stage under the close watch of his grandson, bodyguard Raul
Guillermo Rodríguez Castro, but did not speak publicly.
The streets near the site were filled with buses at dawn with thousands
of participants brought from the nearest provinces. Traffic was
disrupted and most of the area’s private businesses closed, although
some street vendors took advantage of the crowd to sell everything from
sweets to popcorn.
An immense canvas on the National Library showed the image of Raúl
Castro, in the center, watched over by Fidel Castro and Ernesto
Guevara. It was a novelty in the iconography of these events, which
traditionally has filled the walls of the nearest ministries with photos
of deceased leaders.
The official announcers emphasized the presence of young people on the
march. The first block to parade in front of the platform was formed by
students and militants of the Union of Young Communists, in a context in
which several government figures have denounced the effects of
globalization and the “cultural war” against young people.
High schools and universities, state labor centers, cooperatives and the
self-employed sector were all part of the crowd that rushed past the
grandstand to avoid the inclement sun. By nine o’clock in the morning it
was all over.
Source: May Day in Havana Dedicated To Maduro, Interrupted by a US Flag
– Translating Cuba –