Fidel Castro says Cuban model no longer works

HAVANA Wed Sep 8, 2010 2:28pm EDT

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro speaks during a meeting with students at Havana's University September 3, 2010. REUTERS/Desmond Boylan

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro speaks during a meeting with students at Havana's University September 3, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Desmond Boylan

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HAVANA (Reuters) - Fidel Castro said Cuba's economic model no longer works, a U.S.-based journalist reported on Wednesday following interviews with the former president last week.

Jeffrey Goldberg, a writer for the Atlantic Monthly magazine, wrote in a blog that he asked Castro, 84, if Cuba's model -- Soviet-style communism -- was still worth exporting to other countries and he replied, "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore."

The comment appeared to reflect Castro's agreement, which he also expressed in a column for Cuban media in April, with his younger brother President Raul Castro, who has initiated modest reforms to stimulate Cuba's troubled economy.

Goldberg said Julia Sweig, a Cuba expert at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank in Washington who accompanied him to Havana, believed Castro's words reflected an acknowledgment that "the state has too big a role in the economic life of the country."

Such sentiment would help President Castro, who took over from his brother in 2008, against those members of the ruling Communist Party who oppose his attempts to loosen the state's hand, Sweig told Goldberg.

Goldberg wrote in a blog on Tuesday that Castro summoned him to Havana to discuss his recent article about the likelihood of conflict between Israel and Iran, with possible U.S. involvement, over Iran's growing nuclear capabilities.

He said Castro criticized Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for anti-Semitism and denying the Holocaust.

Castro, since emerging in July from four years of seclusion following intestinal surgery, has become an anti-nuclear weapon crusader expressing concern about the future of the world.

He fears that if the United States and Israel try to enforce international sanctions against Iran for its nuclear activities, nuclear war will break out.

Castro also criticized his own actions during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis when he urged the Soviet Union to launch nuclear weapons against the United States, telling Goldberg "it wasn't worth it at all."

During their visit, Goldberg and Sweig went with Castro, at his invitation, to see a dolphin show at Cuba's National Aquarium in Havana.

They were accompanied by local Jewish leader Adela Dworin, who Castro kissed in front of the cameras in a possible message to Iranian leaders, Goldberg said in his Wednesday blog.

Goldberg described Castro as physically frail, but energetic and mentally acute.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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Comments (38)
o7579 wrote:
did Castro’s Cuban model ever work?

Looking at the “Island” now I would say no!!!!
He was right about one thing- the Batista government was terrible and there were too many outside interests controlling Cuba.
Running the wealthy out of town was a big mistake.

Too much control over people’s lives.
He did improve the medical picture in Cuba. They have a lot of good doctors.

Sep 08, 2010 2:55pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
klg1956 wrote:
Soviet style communism model not successful? Did anybody tell Barack Obama, Oliver Stone, Steven Spielberg, Sean Penn, Kevin Costner, Danny Glover (who am I leaving out?), oh, yeah, yeah, and Hugo Chavez?…. they are so intelligent and bright yet all think we Americans should go to this “great” form of socialist communist system? How can these great thinkers fail to see that it’s always failed, everytime it’s tried, communism socialism has never worked. Why? Why do they fail to see that? Because they think they are the special ones to make it work. Nobody’s done it like they will do it. Just like the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac affirmative action subprime redistribution of wealth loans…it didn’t work the first time and now they are shifting the college loans to Fannie and Freddie, and all new affirmative action mortgages to FHA programs but still the same…affirmative action and it will leave chaos and devastation in it’s wake.

Sep 08, 2010 3:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
pessimist88 wrote:
Wow. Moment of clarity? I totally respect people who admit they were wrong!

Sep 08, 2010 4:06pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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