Cuba’s Fidel Castro Says His Country’s Economic Model No Longer Works

Former Cuban head of state Fidel Castro.
Former Cuban head of state Fidel Castro.
Former Cuban head of state Fidel Castro.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — A U.S. journalist surprised observers Wednesday by reporting that former Cuban head of state Fidel Castro no longer has enough confidence in the Cuban economic model to export it.

During an interview with Atlantic Magazine correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg, Castro said the Cuban economic model “doesn’t even work for us anymore.”

As The Associated Press noted, Castro’s comments are not newsworthy because the idea is novel — Fidel’s brother and current President Raúl Castro has criticized the country’s communist economic system and has been introducing reforms.

But Fidel Castro, the leader of the Cuban Revolution that came to power in 1959 and installed a communist system in the 1960s, had not previously spoken so candidly about the viability of the country’s economic model. According to AP, in recent years he has rarely spoken about domestic issues at all.

Golberg’s post to The Atlantic’s Web site was cited widely by the mainstream media, but Cuba scholar Julia Sweig, who accompanied Goldberg on his recent visit to interview Castro, had a different take.

According to Goldberg, Sweig said “(Castro) 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.”

Castro contacted Jeffrey Goldberg to discuss a recent feature he had written for The Atlantic about how the U.S. and Israel view the prospect of Iranian nuclear capability. It was the first time that Castro had given an interview to a U.S. journalist since falling ill in 2006, according to AP.

Golberg has also written this post about the interview with Castro, and plans to write a larger piece for the print edition of the magazine.

Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch

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Image: Carololine @ Flickr.

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One comment

  1. Let Fidel keep talking….for once he is making sense…AND gets his point across in under 5 hours!

    Que Viva Cuba Libre!

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