Trade union organizations from several countries with ties to the Federation of Cuban Workers (CTC) participated in activities leading up to International Workers' Day and the 21st Congress of the Cuban trade union movement that met April 20-24 in Havana.
Representatives from more than 16 nations and some 30 organizations were invited to the event, and in addition to listening to the discussion of labor issues and concerns, they completed a full schedule including visits to production facilities to interact directly with workers.
"Our main objective is to bring people to see how we are developing the country and the circumstances in which we are doing it. We hope they pass along what they have learned, because news about Cuba is scarce and what is published is against the Revolution," CTC Secretary General Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento commented to the press.
He added that the main goal is to show how workers exercise union rights and that visitors freely roam the streets, listening to Cubans' opinions. "We want them to see the damage caused by the criminal economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the United States, mainly in the shortages the population faces and the lack of resources."
Also a member of the Communist Party of Cuba Political Bureau, Guilarte noted that every year, solidarity groups around the world organize actions in support of Cuba, demanding that their governments vote for an end to the blockade in the United Nations General Assembly, given the impact suffered by the Cuban people in terms of supplies, means of production, supplies, raw materials, and spare parts.
He noted that recently the tone used by interventionist President Donald Trump has risen, with new sanctions imposed on governments seeking to build anti-capitalist societies, and mentioned sanctions announced by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on 34 vessels owned or operated by Pdvsa (Petróleos de Venezuela) that transport oil to Cuba, as well as two additional companies.
Guilarte described the Cuba trade union congress as successful in mobilizing ideas to develop more efficiency, the indispensable basis of economic progress in Cuba. He highlighted the official statement issued by delegates in solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela, with all peoples around the world fighting just causes, for peace, independence, sovereignty and against the neoliberal and discriminatory policies imposed by the White House.
These issues will also be discussed on May 2 at the World Solidarity Meeting held each year in Havana, in which international delegations share their just demands for social justice and raise their voices against the diplomatic and commercial siege that has been imposed on the sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and media campaigns designed to undermine the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. They will also express solidarity with Argentine trade unions in their fight against neoliberalism, and for the freedom of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva.
These demands will be expressed in May Day marches along central avenues and rallies in plazas across the country, including the emblematic Plaza de la Revolución in Havana, which will feature a colorful, multitudinous demonstration of support for the revolutionary government and for the construction of socialism under the banners of: Unity, commitment, and victory.
Across the country, health care contingents will lead marches in recognition of the results they achieved in 2018, including an infant mortality rate of 4.0 per thousand live births; revitalization of the family doctor program with a return to its foundational concepts; and a life expectancy of close to 80 years, Santiago Badía González, Secretary General of the National Union of Health Workers, explained to Granma International.
He recalled the return of the nearly 8,000 collaborating professionals who served in the Brazilian Mas Médicos program before being attacked by President Jair Bolsonaro, and highlighted Cuba's medical assistance in more than 60 countries, with the presence of more of 30,000 workers.
"Bringing up the rear of our contingents will be professors and students from medical schools, including the Latin American School of Medicine, led by 160 compatriots who have completed internationalist missions and will carry the flags of the countries where they served," Badía said.
Marches will reaffirm workers' support to the socialist character of the Revolution; agreements reached at the 21st CTC Congress; as well as the Constitution proclaimed last April 10 before Parliament; and will have as another distinctive feature the celebration of Havana's 500th anniversary.
Badía said that May Day is a workers celebration: "We are going to march in defense of our achievements, as a reaffirmation of socialism, and support for the historic leaders of the Revolution and President Miguel Díaz-Canel."