May 1st, Workers’ Day, is the most important celebration for the Cuban regime. As it does every year, the dictatorship organized parades for the day.
To prevent any event that would spoil the celebration, it spent much of the weekend trying to censor the increasingly popular expression “DPEPDPE,” which dissidents began displaying on posters and T-shirts on the eve of May Day.
“DPEPDPE” stands for “De Ping* El País De Ping* Este [expletive],” which means something like “this mixx country sucks.” Cubans are using this slogan inside and outside the island in protest.
In addition, several activists, opponents, and independent journalists were summoned or received an official visit from state security to inform them that they would not be able to leave their homes on that date.
The legal advice NGO Cubalex and the civic project Justicia 11J denounced that in the parades called by the regime, there were around 80 repressive actions against activists, independent journalists, and civil society figures, including relatives of political prisoners of 11J.
Thus, Cubans have found a way to stand up for their rights and protest against the precarious living conditions in Cuba. As a result, the DPEPDPE became a mobilization slogan against the Castro regime.
For the Cuban communist party, Cubans must support the celebration of May Day, and it forces its citizens to participate in the big parades. So for the Labor Day celebration, over the weekend, the regime took it upon itself to threaten Cubans who sold T-Shirts with the popular slogan printed on them and suspend their sales.
In addition, according to a report published on Monday, May 2 by Cubalex, 12 summons-interrogations were reported; 28 cases of surveillance and police siege against people; 13 detentions; five forced disappearances; and eight warnings at the homes of those harassed.
Among the summonses, warnings and threats are Diario de Cuba journalists Jorge Enrique Rodríguez, Mauricio Mendoza and Yoe Suárez. In these cases, the regime threatened the journalists, telling them not to leave their homes on May 1st during the parades.
In this context, some Cuban dissidents made calls through social networks for people to boycott the event and not participate. Thus circulated both inside and outside the island, #YoNoMarcho tweeted.
In response, the pro-regime media claimed that the DPEPDPE slogan was part of an infiltration campaign that sought to manipulate public and international opinion, creating unrest. A post on Twitter read: “The acronym ‘DPEPDPE’ are gusanas” (a derogatory term used by the communist regime against Cuban exiles and dissidents, meaning worm).
Another tool used by the regime and announced by the Minister of Tourism of Matanzas was to summon around 3,000 tourists to parade on May Day in Varadero.
The Cuban state telecommunications company ETECSA, the only telecommunications company in Cuba, has blocked SMS text messages with the acronym DPEPDPE.
The blocking of text messages is the standard measure used by the Cuban regime, especially after the anti-government protests of July 11, 2021. From then on, words such as “freedom,” “protest,” “demonstration,” “Díaz-Canel singao,” “Patria y Vida,” “11J,” and “dictatorship,” among others, have been censored.
But the DPEPDPE is not only seen on T-shirts or in a hashtag on social networks; some dissidents have Tattooed it on their bodies.
After the historic protests of 11J in 2021, the voice of Cubans inside and outside the island asking for freedom can no longer be stopped. The slogan DPEPDPE is just one more of the many messages that the Cuban people are sending to the world and the leaders of the Cuban communist regime.