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Jimmy Roque Martinez: I was born in Havana in 1979, and it seems that work has been my sign. Custodian, fish farmer, lens carver, welder, glass maker, optometrist, have been some of my trades. But none consumes as much of my time as caring for my family. For many years I’ve faced the least pretty face of this society, and I try to be happy while I transform it. I am too shy. I like silence, sleep, theater and movies. I hate injustice and arrogance, and I can hardly contain my anger when it happens in front of me.

The Earth Trembles in Cuba

May 3, 2014 | Print Print |

Jimmy Roque Martinez

The May Day parade.

HAVANA TIMES — At the close of the recent congress of the Cuban Workers Federation (CTC) president Raul Castro asked Cuban workers to “shake the earth” on this year’s International Workers Day with a giant parade. As requested by the boss, the streets of the island shook on Thursday.

Thousands of workers marched across the Plaza of the Revolution in “support” of the Cuban Revolution and its leaders.

The Cuban working class is one of the few in the world that does not have to fight for better working conditions. They must only show their gratitude and obedience to maintain the gains achieved.

This International Workers Day the Cuban working class jubilantly celebrated several victories achieved. For example:

• Having a wage labor system.
• That this wage is not even sufficient to feed themselves.
• That they do not own the means of production, although the state says otherwise.
• That they have a union they supports their employers and not them as a working class.
• That their union federation supports the massive layoffs of state employees.
• That the retirement age was increased by five years with the support of the CTC.
• That a labor law passed four months ago, still unknown in its final form, eliminated the right to employment.
• That they will receive a measly pension.

We can.

We can.

And we could make an endless list of such “conquests” of workers on the island.

Meanwhile, the Cuban government celebrated as its own conquest the obedience, servility and fear of millions of workers.

May Day is definitely not a day of celebration for the Cuban working class. There are many rights to fight for, much exploitation to eliminate.

The earth trembled in Havana, but with demagoguery, injustice and the exploitation of workers in the name of a nonexistent socialism and the strengthening of capitalism.


What's your opinion?

  • Monzon Cubano

    The march is neither spontaneous nor sincere. My friends use to go to get
    “points” and get the right to buy a TV or a fridge, a promotion, a job, an overseas trip.
    In terms of the CTC, marionettes!!!! Useless organization, it means
    nothing in Cuba

  • Monzon Cubano

    Cuban Constitution ARTICLE 54. The rights to assembly, demonstration and
    association are exercised by workers, both manual and intellectual, peasants,
    women, students and other sectors of the working people, and they have the
    necessary means for this. The social and mass organizations have all the
    facilities they need to carry out those activities in which the members have
    full freedom of speech and opinion based on the unlimited right of initiative
    and criticism.

    Note the cynicism of the sentence and they have the necessary means for this… so the government give the Cuban people the CTC

  • Griffin

    A wonderfully ironic essay. However, the current regime is not engaged in the “strengthening of capitalism”. Under Raul, Cuba is transforming from a Marxist-Leninist form of socialism to the Fascist form.