HAVANA – Cuba celebrated International Workers Day on Monday with calls for unity and praise for the value of work, confirmation of its unconditional support for the Venezuelan government and complaints against the United States at the main event and parade presided over by President Raul Castro in Havana.
The only speaker at the event was Ulises Guilarte, secretary-general of the CTC, Cuba’s only authorized labor union, who said that “unity” requires a “genuine, powerful” show of popular support for the revolution, the island’s Communist Party and its historic leadership.
Guilarte said that Cuba has taken the “unbreakable” decision to continue building a “sovereign, independent, socialist, democratic, prosperous and sustainable” nation.
He also repeated the Cuban government’s demands that the United States put an end to the economic, financial and trade embargo on the Caribbean country and return the territory occupied by a US naval base in the eastern province of Guantanamo.
The Cuban union leader recalled the words of President Raul Castro that Cuba and the United States can “cooperate and coexist in a civilized way, respecting their mutual differences and promoting everything that would benefit both countries and their people, but without expecting that the island will give up any of its “independence or sovereignty.”
The CTC head repeated Cuba’s support for the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro and slammed the “diplomatic harassment” of that country by the OAS.
In his speech before the massive parade, Guilarte said the Workers Day celebration is a time to honor the value of work and recognize the need to boost productivity and industrial efficiency, which would create more wealth, reduce prices and gradually improve workers’ wages.
From the stands, Cuban government officials and more than 1,630 guests from 86 countries and representatives of 349 unions watched the demonstrators march by carrying Cuban flags, photos of Cuban leader Fidel Castro who died last November, and posters referring to the Workers Day celebration.
The island’s CTC labor union dedicated the celebration this year to young people, support of Venezuela in its “struggle for sovereignty and self-determination,” a commemoration of the 50th anniversary next October of the death of Argentine-Cuban guerrilla Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and to the 55 years of the Communist Youth organization in this country.