Anticipated News of Another May Day

Celebración del Primero de Mayo en Cuba. (FLICKR/CC)
May 1st Celebration in Havana (Flickr/CC)
Reinaldo Escobar

01 de mayo 2015 - 00:25

Havana/Like all ritual ceremony, the parade for International Workers Day involves previous preparation and specific purposes. Along with 26th of July events and the Triumph of the Revolution’s anniversaries, May 1st has always stood out as the celebration that mobilizes the most people in Cuba.

In some of these parades around a million participants have been recorded. Depending on the directions coming from the top of the hierarchy, they are sometimes organized under neutral mottos, such as “To defend the homeland”; in others the motto can be more specific, such as “Against the imperialist embargo” or, like last year’s motto, “For the return of the Five Heroes.” The 2015 parade’s main motto is “United for the construction of socialism” and official chroniclers claim that it will be massive, compact, strong, unforgettable and other similar adjectives.

In the capital, starting at midnight on the night of April 30, the main avenues surrounding the Plaza of the Revolution will be blocked to traffic along with a parking ban. If rain does not play us a trick, from early morning on May 1 the march will deploy in 18 groups which will begin gathering at previously planned staging points. At the front, there will be 50,000 public health workers, headed by members of the Medical Brigade that confronted the Ebola epidemic of in Africa.

The selection of this group to represent the vanguard of the vanguard has different connotations. Perhaps the most significant is related to the new winds blowing in the relations between Cuba and the United States as of December 17. Sheathed in their protective suits, physicians and Cuban nurses worked side by side with American specialists and many times carried out their work under the direction of and with the resources of the United States.

This time the State Security will have to be attentive to any extremist who shows up with insults against Obama or extemporaneous fundamentalisms

They’ll need an eagle eye to detect any anti-imperialist messages in the placards held high. This time the State Security operation, which traditionally deploys close to the platform to detect any provocations “from the enemy,” will have to be attentive to any extremist who shows up with insults against Obama or extemporaneous fundamentalisms.

Like every year, visitors from half the world will gather to contemplate the magnificent spectacle. More than 1,800 representatives of nearly 200 organizations from 68 countries have already confirmed their participation. Of these, 285 are American. The majority are trade union members, but groups of solidarity and social movements will also be present. Many of them will also be present on Saturday, May 2, at a scheduled meeting on international solidarity to chart the new course that they will need to focus on, now that there are no longer imprisoned heroes, that Cuba will no longer be on the list of countries who collaborate with terrorism, and that the embargo seems to have its days numbered.

Workers, soldiers, students, athletes will wave their flags so that the present continues to resemble the past

The pattern of the parade, the model to follow, is directed from the Plaza of the Revolution in Havana. Each province organizes its own events, but with little room for improvisation. So in each provincial square the parade will start with public health workers in a number that will total around 300,000 across the country, including those who work in the Antivector Brigades (brigades that fight for the elimination of the Aedes Aegiptis mosquito responsible for Dengue Fever), known as “the grays,” reinforced with the presence of young recruits from the Military Service, which in the ranks of the Youth Labor Army are devoted to detecting and eliminating sources of mosquitoes and who receive a white Public Health logo T-shirt that they wear in proletarian march.

The choreographers in charge of this colossal dance have determined that the last marching group at the parade will be the young people. Workers, soldiers, students, athletes, intoxicated by hormones and adrenaline, will wave their flags and march singing or dancing. With the same ecstasy in which some cultures victims went to the altar of sacrifice, they will be swearing eternal loyalty to elderly leaders, they will be ratifying their commitment to socialism and to the Cuban Communist Party Guidelines, and they will be offering up their future so that the present continues to resemble the past.

Shortly afterwards an army of sweepers will eliminate the trash.

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