Cuban President Raul Castro was joined on Friday morning by his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro at the International Workers’ Day celebrations in Havana.
The huge rally brought together hundreds of thousands of Cubans at Plaza de la Revolucion (Revolution Square).
Maduro, the guest of honour, travelled to Cuba on an invitation and is to be back in time on Friday to attend the May Day rally in Caracas.
The parade was headed by health care workers who have made great accomplishments in Cuba and abroad, especially during the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
The doctors and medics were followed by members of the National Innovation Association with 214,000 members.
The Head of the Cuban Workers Union, Ulises Guilarte, was the only speaker at the rally.
In his speech, Guilarte acknowledged improvements in US-Cuban diplomatic relations, yet warned there were still obstacles ahead.
“We will only advance toward the normalization of bilateral relations on a basis of respect for the sovereignty, the independence of Cuba, which includes lifting of the blockade and the return of territory usurped by the US naval base at Guantanamo,” he said.
Cuba and the US started a rapprochement process with US President Barack Obama’s announcement on Dec. 17 last year that the two countries would work to normalise relations after 50 years of hostility.