Fact Check: Photo Of Cuban Crowd Is From Years Ago, NOT 2021 Cuban Protests Against Communism

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: Photo Of Cuban Crowd Is From Years Ago, NOT 2021 Cuban Protests Against Communism Wrong Image

Does a picture of thousands of people packing a wide Cuban street show 2021 protesters taking to the streets against Communism? No, that's not true: The picture is several years old and has been described in captions either as a parade of International Workers' Day celebrants or as a commemoration of the death of Fidel Castro. All described the scene as having taken place in Cuba some years ago.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) on July 13, 2021. The caption reads:

C U B A

P R O T E S T I N G.

C O M M U N I S M 👀

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Jul 14 14:11:12 2021 UTC)

A reverse image search on Yandex led Lead Stories to several Facebook and Twitter posts of the same image in non-English languages, among them Russian, Turkish and Indonesian. These three examples either credited the crowd to Cubans commemorating the death of Fidel Castro in 2016 or to a Cuban celebration of International Workers' Day in May 2013.

A reverse image search on Google Images showed more sites with the image, this time in Spanish. The oldest result was from May 1, 2016, on santiagodigital.net, a Chilean news site. It was titled, "DESFILE EN CUBA CON MOTIVO DEL DIA DEL TRABAJADOR," which translates roughly to "Parade in Cuba on The Day of the Worker."

An even older link to the image is from May 8, 2013, with the caption, "Desfile por el 1ro de Mayo en La Habana. Foto: Ismael Francisco/Cubadebate," which translates as "Parade for the 1st of May in Havana. Photo: Ismael Francisco/Cubadebate." Cubadebate is a Cuban news site.

International Workers' Day is a holiday honoring workers observed in several countries on May 1. In Cuba, May 1 is "massively celebrated ... with workers marching with their colleagues to the Revolution Square, where special cultural and musical events are held as well as speeches from leading figures," according to cubagrouptour.com.

While there is no definitive answer to what event this image from, it is not from the July 2021 protests in Cuba against the nation's Communist government.

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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