By: Ana María Domínguez Cruz
Cuban Vice President Esteban Lazo participated in the plenary meeting held at the Ministry of Agriculture in Havana to discuss the final preparations for the massive May Day activities to be held nationwide.
“We are going to go out and march for ourselves, for the continuance of our existence and our socialism,” said Lazo.
Cubans are busy making preparations for massive turnouts throughout the country in celebration of May 1, International Workers Day.
The opening of the parade in Havana will be in the hands of 4,000 students from the Lenin School and the School of Art Instructors. Young Cubans will also make up the rearguard of the march.
The president of the Cuban Federation of University Students (FEU), Gladys Gutiérrez, announced that university students will rally on May Day to protest against the latest smear campaign orchestrated by the United States and the European Union against Cuba.
“This May 1 parade is special because it was during the Ninth Congress of the Young Communist League (UJC) that President Raul Castro summoned the people to participate. I think this holds special meaning for all Cuban youths, especially for university students, who have always been at the vanguard of the revolution,” she said.
Gutierrez added that university students will be marching in the youth groups, which in the case of Havana will be divided into three smaller groups, representing each of the missions of the UJC: work, study and national defence.
As taking part in the parade will be 4,000 professors from other provinces currently teaching in Havana, medical students, and students from the Computer Science University (UCI).
As has been the case throughout the 50 years since January 1959, working men and women will participate in this event with mass parades, displaying the defense of the Revolution as a political process and the social guarantor of their achievements as their principal slogan.
For these men and women, as their labor union leaders have stated, the times when marches and public demonstrations were interrupted or prevented by force under the leadership of governments which ignored the demands and calls of the working people have been left in the past.
In those days, marches were about demanding better working conditions, the end to exploitation by large national and foreign businesses, and access to services like healthcare and education, to cite only a few examples that were out of reach back then.
Those demands ended with the revolutionary measures taken and the metamorphosis that began on that date. The banner of the proletariat was transformed into an expression of support for official action in alignment with workers’ interests.
This year, Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución and plazas throughout the island are destined to once again receive countless waves of Cuban men and women, whose fundamental motivation is to back the country in the face of the current anti-Cuban media campaign.
According to workers’ groups, it is to be the second major demonstration of its kind in less than a week, taking into account the approximately 8.2 million voters who went to the polls for the municipal elections on April 25.
“Students have played a key role in the history of Cuba and in important sectors, for example, we are currently engaged in activities related to food production,” she added.
The students’ leader said that this rally will be a good opportunity for students to show the world that they are ready to defend their country, give their support to economic activities, and face any attack against Cuba’s sovereignty.