Castro voices doubts on Cuban model
By Daniel Dombey in Washington
Published: September 9 2010 01:04
Fidel Castro, Cuba's former leader, has said the island's economic model
no longer works, in comments likely to be seen as offering backing for
In remarks to Jeffrey Goldberg, a correspondent for the Atlantic, Mr
Castro said: "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us any more".
Mr Goldberg had asked whether Mr Castro, who dominated Cuban life for
some five decades, still thought the Cuban model worth exporting. The
response of the 84-year-old, who handed the country's presidency to his
younger brother Raul two years ago, appeared to bolster the current
government's efforts to reform the economy.
Raúl Castro announced last month that as much as 20 per cent of the
state labour force would lose their jobs or be transferred over five
years and said he would allow more private hiring to help compensate.
The older Mr Castro's remarks, the latest in a recent series of
appearances after his recovery from gastrointestinal illness, came after
he invited Mr Goldberg to Havana to discuss a recent article in the
Atlantic about the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran in the near
In an apparent warning to Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, Iran's president, not to
resort to anti-Semitism, Mr Castro said: "The Jews have lived an
existence that is much harder than ours – there is nothing that compares
to the Holocaust."
Asked if he would repeat his comments to Mr Ahmadi-Nejad, Mr Castro
replied: "I am saying this so you can communicate it."
Mr Castro also signalled second thoughts about his advice during the
1962 Cuban missile crisis for Nikita Khrushchev, then leader of the
Soviet Union, to consider a nuclear strike against the US in the event
of an American attack on Cuba. Asked by Mr Goldberg whether he now
thought his recommendation logical, the former Cuban leader replied:
"After I've seen what I've seen, and knowing what I know now, it wasn't
worth it all."
In a meeting in Havana in the 1990s, Mr Castro told Robert McNamara, the
late former US defence secretary, that he did not regret his advice to
Mr Khrushchev. The Cuban missile crisis is widely recognised as the
closest the world has come to nuclear war.
In the film The Fog of War, McNamara expressed his horror that three
rational actors such as Mr Castro, Khrushchev and President John F.
Kennedy could come to the verge of such a devastating conflict.