BY MAGGIE TROWE
“We reiterate once again our legitimate demand for the elimination of the economic, commercial, financial blockade imposed by the United States government, which has caused our country so much damage and deprivation, and is the principal obstacle to the economy’s development,” said Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, leader of the Cuban Workers Federation (CTC) and a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, who delivered the speech that kicked off the procession. “We likewise demand the return of territory illegally occupied by the United States Naval Base in Guantánamo, against the will of the government and people of Cuba.”
Cuban President Raúl Castro presided over the march, surrounded by leaders of the Communist Party and the government, leaders of mass organizations and hundreds of international guests from countries around the world, including a 300-strong May Day brigade of participants from 26 countries. For the first time there is a 45-person brigade from the United States.
[JG: It is very interesting that the U.S. mainstream news media did not publish anything about the USA's very large contingent, despite the fact that they spend millions of dollars in propaganda about the country being "transparent and democratic."]
The march will be followed by an international conference to plan stepped-up work in solidarity with the Cuban Revolution.
Brigade members spent the previous week doing voluntary agricultural labor, meeting with representatives of Cuban mass organizations and in discussions on Cuba’s relations with Washington and the island’s socialist economy.
After the conference, most brigadistas will travel to Santa Clara province to learn more about the revolution. A few will join some 200 other delegates at the International Seminar for Peace and the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases, to be held May 4-6 in Guantánamo province.
The U.S. base there, notorious for its prison, is the only military base in the world that exists against the will of the people and government of the land on which it is located. Washington has over 850 military bases over five continents.
The conference will conclude in Caimanera, located next to the U.S. base, where delegates will read its final declaration.
[Socialist Workers Party]