Global Solidarity on May Day

Delegations from around the world will participate in celebrations for International Workers’ Day; a national celebration of a political, productive and cultural nature in Cuba.

As is traditional, thousands of people will gather in different areas; in towns and neighborhoods throughout the country to show support for the Revolution; condemn the criminal U.S economic blockade against the country and demand the release of Cuban anti-terrorists Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero, currently imprisoned in the U.S.

With the maxim of: efficiency and unity for our socialism, celebrations recognizing outstanding workers and honoring union leaders, are taking place April 7- May 5. The march through the Plaza de la Revolución in Havana is arguably the most impressive event due to its size, originality and energy. In response to President Raúl Castro’s call, made at the 2014 20th Congress of the Cuban Workers Federation (CTC), Cuban workers will “make the earth tremble.”

The 17 national unions and their 3,500,000 members will organize the order of the march, programmed to close with young workers, students and soldiers, highlighting the unity between generations in the Cuban revolutionary process. In the days leading up to May 1, a conference for Latin American and Caribbean union leaders will be held, organized by the Regional Office for the World Federation of Trade Unions, and an international workshop on the history of the workers movement in Cuba and around the world, hosted by the Cuban Institute of History.

Ernesto Freire Casañas, head of CTC International Relations department, stated that the International Solidarity with Cuba meeting will take place May 2, with the participation of many union leaders and activists. “The 6th Our America Union Meeting (ESNA), will take place May 3-4, addressing topics such as the lack of employment opportunities for women and young people. Its purpose is to promote integration between countries in the region and to coordinate common strategies in the struggle for the unity and wellbeing of the continent”, he said.

In addition, he commented that the majority of union representatives are expected to arrive April 29-30, and will visit various workplaces, meeting with other union members. Discussions will be held between national and international union administrators, along with talks between the vice presidents of the World Trades Union Federation and other union leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Rigoberto Zarza Ross, representative of the Cuban Friendship Institute (ICAP) Asia and Oceania department, spoke with Granma International about what goes in to organizing the solidarity brigades, which will include more than 240 participants from 22 countries. “The brigades major motivation is to march with the Cuban people on May Day, and at the same time offer solidarity and learn about different aspects of Cuban life, in the present context,” said Zarza Ross, who will be managing the brigades.

May Day arrives in Cuba amidst important changes to the economy, including wage increases for health workers and athletes, and a greater number of non state workers – 250,000 of whom are currently members of various national unions. Friends from around the world and millions of Cubans will be celebrating May Day, showing that unity between workers is the only way to build a better world.