26 May 2012     

May Day in Cuba

By Geraldine Kelly

Returning home to Ireland after my first trip to Cuba for the May Day celebrations it is hard to know where to start in describing the experience, we saw and did so much in the week we had.
     The group I was with was made up from different trade unions from throughout Ireland. I can only speak for myself when I say that it was one of the best experiences I have had as a trade unionist.
     May Day is about celebrating the achievements of the workers’ movement, and to do that with nearly one million people on the streets of Havana was great. In the current financial crisis that has hit the working class around the world it is even more important to commemorate the achievements of workers over the many years of struggle, and to continue the fight and support workers in the struggles ahead.
     The conference the next day brought together two thousand trade unionists from around the world, and the main topic was the financial crises that are affecting all working-class throughout the world.
     For me it was the mother of one of the Cuban Five who spoke about her son and his comrades that was the highlight. The show of solidarity in the large hall was uplifting. It was great to meet comrades from many different countries and share the experience with the people of Cuba.
     We went on to visit a school and a health centre, where again the experience was all good. The care shown to the children and adults was humbling to watch. We could learn a lot from the Cuban people, as they do put their people before profit.
     The Cuban experience was great, and I would encourage anyone to get out there and see for themselves.

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