That Viral ‘Protest’ Photo of Cuba is Actually From May Day 2018

That Viral ‘Protest’ Photo of Cuba is Actually From May Day 2018
Photo that's circulating on right-wing social media purporting to be from this week, but is actually from 2018. (Photo: Alejandro Ernesto, Getty Images)

Protests against the Cuban government have been taking place this week, with many conservatives in the U.S. circulating photos and video of the demonstrations. But not everything that’s going viral out of Cuba is actually from this week. In fact, one photo isn’t even from this year.

Have you seen this photo of an enormous march in Havana, Cuba? It’s circulating on right-wing social media channels as proof that the Cuban people are sick and tired of the Communist government. But the photo is actually a few years old. And, ironically, it’s a rally where the participants are decidedly pro-Communism.

Matt Couch, a peddler of disinformation associated with a website called The DC Patriot, has helped spread the photo across his social media channels. Couch, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, has built a following of almost half a million Twitter followers since Trump came to office in 2017.

In reality, this photo, which is available through Getty Images, was taken on May 1, 2018 in Havana. The people are marching to Revolution Square and they’re all celebrating the Cuban Revolution that installed Fidel Castro as leader in 1959. Castro died in 2016 of natural causes, much to the dismay of the Central Intelligence Agency.

People march to Revolution Square in Havana to celebrate May Day, on May 1, 2018 (Photo: Alejandro Ernesto, Getty Images) People march to Revolution Square in Havana to celebrate May Day, on May 1, 2018 (Photo: Alejandro Ernesto, Getty Images)

Technically, Couch never said that the photo was taken this week, he merely tweeted that it was “Cubans on the move.” But judging by responses to the tweet, people clearly thought it was supposed to be an image captured recently.

Many Twitter users asked if it was real, and some speculated that perhaps this rally was in Florida, where the Cuban-American community is overwhelmingly against Communism. But the photo isn’t from Florida. It’s just Cuba from a few years ago.

Both Getty and the Associated Press have other photos from that day in Havana, which gives a better idea of what these people were marching about.

A poster with an image of late Cuban leader Fidel Castro is seen amid the crowd during the May Day rally at Revolution Square in Havana on May 1, 2018.  (Photo: Yamil Lage, Getty Images) A poster with an image of late Cuban leader Fidel Castro is seen amid the crowd during the May Day rally at Revolution Square in Havana on May 1, 2018. (Photo: Yamil Lage, Getty Images)

May Day is recognised internationally as a holiday celebrating the common worker, and these people were proud of their Revolution.

The crowd during the May Day rally at Revolution Square in Havana on May 1, 2018.  (Photo: Yamil Lage/AFP, Getty Images) The crowd during the May Day rally at Revolution Square in Havana on May 1, 2018. (Photo: Yamil Lage/AFP, Getty Images)

Cubans have indeed protested this week, largely over food and medicine shortages according to an explainer from the Associated Press — an explainer which oddly remains sceptical that it has anything to do with U.S. sanctions destroying the country’s economy since the 1960s.

Whatever you think of the Communist regime in Cuba, there are plenty of images conservatives could use that actually show discontent with the government in Havana this week. The photo that’s currently getting the most traction on conservative social media doesn’t show what they think it shows.