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Cuba: Festive mood but no Fidel as May Day lands in Cuba01:08

Cuba: Festive mood but no Fidel as May Day lands in Cuba

Cuba, Havana
May 1, 2013 at 16:53 GMT +00:00 · Published

Cuba: Festive mood but no Fidel as May Day lands in Cuba

Hundreds of thousands of Cubans were joined by around 2,000 labour union activists from over 73 countries as they marched with banners bearing the images of Cuban leaders Fidel and Raul Castro in Havana on the International Day of Labour, also known as May Day. Using the slogan "United for Prosperous and Sustainable Socialism", the marchers also carried portraits of recently deceased Venezuelan President and Cuban ally Hugo Chavez.

The march began around 07:30 local time (11:30 GMT) and lasted for around two and a half hours. Former Cuban President Fidel Castro, who stepped down in 2006 citing poor health, did not attend the event. His younger brother, current Cuban President Raul Castro, waved to participants, but the 81-year-old leader did not speak.

May Day has special significance in Cuba, a communist country since a 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro, Ernesto "Che" Guevara and others toppled the government of then-President Fulgencio Batista. The day is often celebrated as a triumph of socialism over capitalism in the Caribbean island nation that has been under a US trade embargo for more than 50 years and is home to a US military naval base and detention facility in Guantanamo Bay.

Cuba: Festive mood but no Fidel as May Day lands in Cuba01:08
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Cuba: Festive mood but no Fidel as May Day lands in Cuba

Hundreds of thousands of Cubans were joined by around 2,000 labour union activists from over 73 countries as they marched with banners bearing the images of Cuban leaders Fidel and Raul Castro in Havana on the International Day of Labour, also known as May Day. Using the slogan "United for Prosperous and Sustainable Socialism", the marchers also carried portraits of recently deceased Venezuelan President and Cuban ally Hugo Chavez.

The march began around 07:30 local time (11:30 GMT) and lasted for around two and a half hours. Former Cuban President Fidel Castro, who stepped down in 2006 citing poor health, did not attend the event. His younger brother, current Cuban President Raul Castro, waved to participants, but the 81-year-old leader did not speak.

May Day has special significance in Cuba, a communist country since a 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro, Ernesto "Che" Guevara and others toppled the government of then-President Fulgencio Batista. The day is often celebrated as a triumph of socialism over capitalism in the Caribbean island nation that has been under a US trade embargo for more than 50 years and is home to a US military naval base and detention facility in Guantanamo Bay.

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