Political demonstration on the Malecón

On one visit during Fidel’s era, I watched the TV instructions for all the Cubans in surrounding areas to gather for their bus transport to the Malecón the next day.

It was to be a “spontaneous demonstration” against the USA for I do not remember what.

It was one of the most interesting events I have ever seen. The people were massed to march along the Malecón

Havana-Anti-American-demonstration-on-Malecón

This was a spectacle worth seeing. The organisation was like a military manoeuvre – which is not surprising I guess. I asked was this much effort given to hurricane preparation and was assured that it actually was.

Flanked by police and following a phalanx of flag bearers, the crowd assembled.

Havana-demonstration-on-Malecón flag-bearers

It wasn’t time to start yet so people were busy getting in place…

-demonstration-on-Malecón-people-finding-their-place

…and then came the word to start.

The front line flag bearers set off …

Havana-demonstration-on-Malecón-front-line

…to be followed by the massed flags and the long line of marchers.

Havana-demonstration-on-Malecón-start

It wasn’t difficult to see what the trigger was for the march to start.

It was really much more a TV spectacular than a demonstration, with both stationary TV cameras strung from a mobile crane…

Havana-demonstration-on-Malecón-TV-camera-on-crane

…and a camera hung below a TV reporter laden news helicopter …

Havana-demonstration-on-Malecón-TV-News-Helicopter

…which is why the marchers were massed into a narrow band on the Malecón. It gives the impression of more density. An uncontrolled demonstration would have filled the lanes now closed to traffic for the event.

The whole spectacle was overlooked by tourists from the lawns of the Hotel Nacional.

Havana-demonstration-on-Malecón-watchers-at-Hotel-Nacional

I found the whole atmosphere on the streets more like that of fiesta than a demo. This was a demonstration against capitalism and everywhere capitalism was flourishing - as street vendors sold craft, food, drinks, but very little to do with the demonstration itself.

Walking along the other side of the Malecón from that of the massed demonstrators, I saw water trucks parked with mounted loudspeaker systems projecting sounds of enthusiastic crowds shouting slogans – real life-like demonstration stuff.

I laughed and my friends told me that everyone was so tired of these demonstrations that they walk and chat with their friends and every now and then can be enticed to utter an unenthusiastic cheer, but on the whole it is a just a day off on the Malecón.

This is the sound system to back up the images later seen on TV news shows worldwide.

As I pondered the differences between Capitalism and Socialism,I thought of the Polish saying:

Under Capitalism, man exploits man,

but under Socialism, the reverse is true.


More Havana pages:

Havana Angels

Havana Capitol Building

Havana Creative Transportation

Havana Classic Cars

Havana Fish and Philosophy

Havana Street Water-Skiing

Havana Grandeur

Havana Back Street Rambles

Havana Agricultural Fair

Havana The Art of Dominoes

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