Fidel: 'Cuban Model Doesn't Even Work For Us Anymore'
Jeffrey Goldberg has gotten a lot of mileage out of his Atlantic article on Israel, Iran, and the Bomb. It not only received a lot of attention in its own right, but it apparently also got Goldberg an invitation to Cuba for an extended interview with Castro -- who may no longer be the maximal leader himself on the island, but who can still get aquariums open for dolphin shows on days when it's normally closed. The visit was supposed to be about the article, which had Castro worried, and was supposedly part of a larger plan to project Castro's image onto an international stage. But the short admission that has raised eyebrows all over was his response to Goldberg's question whether he thought the "Cuban model" was still something that could be exported: "'The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore,' he said."
Goldberg's Latin American expert, Julia Sweig, expanded and interpreted this a little to mean: "'He wasn't rejecting the ideas of the Revolution. I took it to be an acknowledgment that under 'the Cuban model' the state has much too big a role in the economic life of the country.'" Which sounds a bit face-saving -- if the "ideas of the Revolution" involve socialism, then it's at least odd to hear a socialist say that "the state has much too big a role in the economic life of the country", doesn't it? But maybe it's just a matter of labelling -- could we call it "capitalist socialism"? "Socialist free enterprise"? Maybe not "social democracy", yet. But however you slice it, this sounds like progress. Before long, hopefully, there'll be just one remaining instance of "actually existing socialism" in the world, and that's that exemplar of cultural psychopathy, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
By the way -- Goldberg asked Castro if his recent serious illness had caused him to rethink his atheism, and Castro apparently replied, "Sorry, I'm still a dialectical materialist." Says Goldberg, "This is funnier if you are, like me, an ex-self-defined socialist", and he's right.
UPDATE: And now he takes it back: "My idea, as the whole world knows, is that the capitalist system now doesn't work either for the United States or the world, driving it from crisis to crisis, which are each time more serious.'' Can you see how that could have been misinterpreted? Me neither. Too bad Castro never ran for office -- he's a natural. Ah well, he'll soon be out of there anyway.