Conversation with the communist: Ramón Labañino

In May of 2016 six Cuban heroes came to Moscow for the first time. Five of them are known to the whole world as the Cuban Five. This interview, that Ramon Labanino, Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero, Rene Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez gave to the representatives of the Russian Free the Cuban 5 Committee – the Red TV and the Workers University, we named “A talk with a communist”. In the course of the discussion the heroes not only answered various questions about their life in Cuba after being released from jail, but also questions that are important for all of the Russian communist movement: on the development of Cuban revolution, reforms, normalization of Cuba-U.S. relations, on the revolutionary movement in the world and resistance to the imperialist reaction. Questions, which they answered as representatives of their country. As communists.


[Ramon Labanino], [Gerardo Hernandez], [Antonio Guerrero], [Rene Gonzalez], [Fernando Gonzalez]


Correspondent: We are happy that all of you, all five, have come to Russia. Welcome on behalf of Russian committee. Frankly we don’t know who you are by the profession besides the fact that you are a hero.

Ramon: To start with we are also happy, because you brought us freedom. That’s why we express thanks and love towards you. Our work always meant the service for the needs of the revolution. From the first day when we came out of the prisons we asked our leader Raul to tell us about our future, latest goals, aims. We are engaged in a lot of political activities. We tell the people about Cuba. We express our gratitude towards comrades and also we explain the current situation in our relations between Cuba and the USA. And we also explain the current situation in view of our elaboration of socialism in Cuba. That is our main political work. I’m economist. And my role in this work is connected with my specialization as an economist.

Correspondent: As an economist, please answer one of our questions. Is it rational in economical sense to separate the private sector in already emerged state monopoly on means of production?

Ramon: No, never, we view it as a negative thing. Our aim is stabilization of socialism. We want to remove the bureaucratic weight from our state. To free it fromt he things, which are not so important. And it should give the state time to completethe tasks, which would serve our socialism. For example ownership of the restaurant. A big part of the profits which the owner gets, come back to the state in the form of taxes. This money could be used later for the free insurance, free public healthcare for the development of our democracy, for defence of the country. But the main aim is the stabilization of our socialism, not the creation of the small private property. We won’t come back to capitalism.

Correspondent: It’s not just a simple question. It’s an important issue for many people in our country. The man, who owns a restaurant, is his owner; does it mean that he has private property?

Ramon: It is his personal property. The society, in the form of socialist state, still has the property on the most important means of production. It means that people would never leave the areas, which are useful for development of the country. For example tourism, production of tobacсo and coffee. oil, research and technological development, biotechnologies. These branches make up 90% of our economy. But the small property, which is personal property as to us: restaurants, cafes, hairdressing saloons does not play an important role in creation of social product. And the things, which are produced in this sphere, are under our permanent control, it serves the needs of our socialism.

Correspondent: I would never ask an economist this question.  I’m asking this question a communist. As you know, even small private property brings to frantic changes in consciousness. How are you going to control it?

Ramon: To begin with our population is educated. Many of the people who own sole enterprise, are communists, members of our party. And they understand that their main task is not to grow rich at any cost, but to serve the society. We never forget about ideological work. We always teach people, try to develop their personality. Our party never loses its contact with the people, with masses. It’s the main guaranty of our success. In cases when people might step aside from this course, we might have to control them. We won’t allow them to become capitalists.

Correspondent: Wonderful words. Please tell us about the things which you like most in Russia. Have you been here before?

Ramon: People. And women in particular.  And the spirit of peace. The march of  the “Immortal regiment” on Victory Day. It was the demonstration of the power, but peaceful power. The power which could stop the wars and violence, which won’t allow imperialists to disturb the peace. And that is veryimportant that we bring this message. Message of peace and of our desire to build a better world. It means also that we are all united. It was always a guarantee of the victory.

Correspondent: In your press-conference you said that you wanted to visit mausoleum. Did you manage to do it?

Ramon: Yes, of course! For the first time it happened in 1988.

Correspondent: Actually we thought that only Antonio Gerrero has visited our country before.

Ramon: Only fifteen days, but I was here by the invitation of our comrades from communist party. And at that time we also were at Mausoleum. Now we think that in comparison to the last time Lenin grew young again. And he was ready to see the triumph of the new revolution. It is the message, that we have in our hearts. Thank you.


Translated by: [E.I], Natalija Sulejmanova, Andrej Borisov