May Day in Sancti Spíritus: Every Home is a Square

The health crisis imposed by COVID-19 turned Sancti Spiritus homes into a peculiar place to celebrate the Day of the World Proletariat

Enrique Ojito

may day in sancti spiritus
A May Day commemoration from home. (Photo: Vicente Brito / Escambray).

We missed the kid upon his father’s shoulders, the immense Cuban flag waving to the rhythm of the march, the royal palm trees erected and vigilant on the sides of the square. We missed the horsemen with their cowboy hats, the conga music with the sound of the drums and the trumpet announcing that “Yayabo está en la calle” (“Yayabo is in the street”)*.

The celebration of May Day could not be as usual, but the date was celebrated anyway. It is known that COVID-19 had the last word and imposed social isolation. Even so, our homes served as squares. The Cuban flag was placed on doors, windows an balconies, while La Internacional was reborn here and there.

In many places, Buena Fe remembered the Valientes (the Brave Ones), those who came to kiss the world and nothing else, those who love their country as themselves, as the poet would also say. It is logical that we dedicate this proletarian day especially to them, to those who are in the red zones in health institutions fighting against death; to those who, also in white coats, in their not so risky positions continue to display their wisdom for the sake of human existence.

This Friday we celebrated the lives saved from the pandemic, the successful outcome of local sugar workers which brought them back to their plan fulfillment tradition. We also acknowledged the farmers who work to provide food for the people, the teachers who, from their homes, continue to lead students by their hands.

In short, we celebrated every generous act, no matter from which profession it comes, that seeks to save this country and its people; to save them, even, from so much economic harassment and media bombardment, coming from the “Norte revuelto y brutal” (Turbulent and brutal north) that despises us, as José Martí warned 125 years ago.

Unquestionably understandable is that flaming strophe of another poet, Fayad Jamís: Por esta libertad, / bella como la vida, / habrá que darlo todo; / si fuere necesario / hasta la sombra, / y nunca será suficiente.  (For this freedom, / beautiful as life, / everything will have to be given; / if necessary / even the shadow, / and it will never be enough).

*This verse is part of a very famous conga song in which the name Yayabo (local river) is used to simbolyzes the people.

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