Every May 1 from 1961 to 2007, Fidel Castro gave a version of the same speech to much the same crowd, lauding Cuba’s independence from Yankee imperialism, its historic mission, and his citizens’ forbearance in the face of often-unbearable deprivation. In the crowd of hundreds of thousands of Cubans, the most visible band of people — those just behind the seated generals and the foreign dignitaries, pressed against retaining rails not far from Fidel’s podium — was a crush of university students in red shirts. Every year, students gathered on the quad the evening before May Day to listen to music, pass around bottles of rum, make signs and dance.

And as they marched from the university to the Plaza de la Revolución a few hours before dawn, a pulsing river of merry red-clad young people flooded the city streets, collecting more and more students at every block. At the plaza, they settled into a designated space at the front of the crowd. They were granted visibility because they were university students, yes, and Cuba’s free education system has always been one of Castro’s calling cards. But more important, they were photogenic, energetic and — most crucial of all — young. Whether they supported Fidel or not was beside the point. Appearance at these marches was mandatory, because their presence proved to the rolling Cuban TV cameras and the foreign press photographers that the revolution was not, as the rest of the crowd behind them often was, as old and gray as Fidel himself became...



Recent Articles

Date Title
8/27/15 Cuba’s Internet dilemma: how to emerge from the Web’s stone age
Indira Lakshmanan, Bloomberg
8/26/15 Cuba Suffers Through The Worst Drought Of ‘The Last Century’
Dominique Mosbergen, The Huffington Post
8/26/15 Carnival's Fathom Sailing Toward Cuba 'To Make A Social Impact'
Devin Thrope, Forbes
8/24/15 Cuban Dissidents Buoyed in a New Era
Ernesto Londoño, The New York Times
8/21/15 If you want to do business in Cuba, call these guys
CNN Money
8/21/15 Pope Francis’ trip to Cuba will focus on families, the young and strengthening the church
Mimi Whitefield, The Miami Herald
8/21/15 A Breakout Year for Cuban Entrepreneurs
Indira Lakshmanan, Bloomberg
8/20/15 Congressional Recalcitrance on Cuba Deprives U.S. Business Community of Opportunities
John Brinkley, Forbes
8/20/15 Restored relations hold benefits for Cuba, U.S.
Editorial Opinion, Orlando Sentinel
8/19/15 Cuba: Investing in the New Frontier
Josh Lockman and Jaime Carlson, The Huffington Post
8/19/15 No timing for resuming commercial travel to Cuba- U.S.
Reuters
8/18/15 Cuba: Now comes the hard part
Carl Meacham, Politico
8/18/15 Obama Administration Pushes for Deal to Start Flights to Cuba by Year’s End
Felicia Schwartz, Jack Nicas and Carlo Lee, The Wall Street Journal
8/17/15 Will tourism spoil Cuba's environment?
Orlando Sentinel
8/14/15 Cuban chefs fire up the grills for fundraiser
WSVN