The Cuban Communist Party spent much of the weekend trying to protect its May Day celebrations from the profane and increasingly popular acronym “DPEPDPE,” which dissidents have begun to display on placards and T-shirts.
“DPEPDPE” stands for “De Pinga El País De Pinga Este”, Which has no consistent literal translation into English but roughly means“ this country of shit sucks ”. The word pinga is profane jargon for male genitalia which, when used with “de”, It can mean that something is extremely good or extremely bad in Cuba and it can have a host of other meanings in other Spanish-speaking countries.
The slogan has become a way for Cubans to vent their frustration against the precarious living conditions to which the communist regime has subjected Cuba.
Just like the “Díaz-Canel singao(more or less, “asshole Díaz-Canel”) that Cubans clamored against puppet leader Miguel Díaz-Canel in 2021 during that year’s protests against the communist regime, the DPEPDPE became a protest slogan against the Cuban regime. It appeared on T-shirts, became a popular hashtag on social media and some dissidents tattooed it on their bodies.
The phrase DPEPDPE is often accompanied by the characters “Flork” that come from the Internet webcomic “Flork of Cows” which has become popular in Cuba. Flork of Cows is an ongoing web strip that features the eponymous characters drawn in dark humor situations. The characters in the comic are purposely drawn in a simple style which is colloquially called “MS Paint”.
The animation implication that accompanies the expression of frustration is a form of gallows humor, an expression that essentially says Cubans are trapped in a bad government joke.
The author of the comic Flork of Cows responded with a tweet in solidarity with the Cuban people.
– Flork (@FlorkOfCows) May 1, 2022
things I never thought I’d see: my characters are used in a political movement in Cuba and are apparently actively banned pic.twitter.com/VvBhPqxBXj
– Flork (@FlorkOfCows) May 1, 2022
Cubans who sell T-shirts with the slogan printed on them have suffered threats from the regime’s security apparatus, forcing them to suspend sales. Despite this, Cuban citizens continue to defy the regime’s threats, going so far as to deceive the censorship of pro-regime websites and mock the regime through acrostic poems in their comment section bearing the slogan. Some even got the acronym tattooed.
– IsbelDT (@DtIsbel) April 27, 2022
As is the case with every other authoritarian regime around the world, the Cuban Communist Party forces Cuban citizens to participate in their grand parades: the May 1st “Workers’ Day” parade is the most important.
The event is of such high importance to the Communist Party’s false narrative that Cubans vehemently support the regime that not even newborn Cubans (Attention: graphic image) cannot be used as part of the Communist Party’s social media accounts to promote the May Day parade.
By contrast, the Cuban Conflicts Observatory recorded a total of 293 protests against the communist regime in Cuba in April 2022 alone.
Some Cuban dissidents have appealed on social media for people to boycott the event by not attending it.
– ML FLORIDA (@LfloridaM) April 30, 2022
In response, the pro-regime media claimed that the DPEPDPE slogan is part of an “infiltration campaign” that sought to “manipulate public and international opinion, trying to create riots”. during the regime’s May Day parade.
NUEVA CAMPAÑA DE LA GUSANERA PARA OPACAR # 1roDe Mayo #CubaViveYTrabaja . With the siglas “DPEPDPE” en pulover y Prendas, los Gusanos pretenden infiltrarse en el desfile of pueblo trabajador to manipulate the national and international public opinion, intending to create disturbances. pic.twitter.com/EAq9NPvTpG
– Televisión Camagüey (@tvcamaguey) April 29, 2022
The image, disseminated on Facebook among the groups of the pro-Cuban regime, reads: “Urgent denunciation! New campaign to overshadow the May 1st parade. The acronym ‘DPEPDPE’ are gusane [despective term used by the communist regime against Cuban exiles and dissidents that means “maggot”]This is followed by “Manipulation” and a pro-regime hashtag.
Fearing the display of “DPEPDPE” during their flagship celebration, regime officials allegedly threatened citizens on social media to force them not to wear or use the slogan this weekend. It was also reported that ETECSA, the Cuban state’s telecommunications company (and the only telecommunications company in Cuba), blacklisted the slogan from sending via their SMS network.
– Danielito Tri (@Danielito Triana) May 2, 2022
– Yulier Suárez (@VanYulier) April 26, 2022
Leftists and Communists are not known for their originality when it comes to viral content and memes, so it should come as no surprise that pro-regime sympathizers, failing to stop the meme, attempted to co-opt the ‘Flork of Cows’ and replace the DPEPDPE slogan with some of them.
Cone, no había seen esto! Está más cheo que la obra musical de Patricio Amaro!
Pd: ¿Vamos el primero de mayo a ratificar principes? pic.twitter.com/iWFltK51uX
– Miguel Alejandro Hayes (@mahayescuba) May 1, 2022
“Viva el 1º de Mayo”, we read in an imitating Communist meme: “Long live May 1st”.
Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.