Fidel Castro says Cuban model doesn't work

09:39, September 09, 2010      

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In a talk with an American journalist, Cuban's Fidel Castro said that the country's economic model didn't work, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

The fact that things are not working efficiently on the cash-strapped Caribbean island country is hardly news, The AP report said. Fidel's brother Raul Castro, the country's president, has said the same thing repeatedly. But the blunt assessment by the father of Cuba's 1959 revolution is sure to raise eyebrows, the report said.

Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, asked if Cuba's economic system was still worth exporting to other countries, and Mr. Castro replied: "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore," Goldberg wrote Wednesday in a post on his Atlantic blog.

He said Castro made the comment casually over lunch following a long talk about the Middle East, and did not elaborate. Julia Sweig, a Cuba expert at the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations who accompanied Goldberg on the trip, confirmed Castro's comment.

Sweig told The Associated Press she took the remark to be in line with Raul Castro's recent calls for gradual but widespread reform.

Since stepping down from power in 2006, Fidel Castro has focused almost entirely on international affairs and said very little about Cuba and its politics, perhaps to limit the perception he is stepping on his brother's toes, the AP report said.

Goldberg, who traveled to Cuba at Castro's invitation last week to discuss a recent Atlantic article he wrote about Iran's nuclear program, also reported Tuesday that Castro questioned his own actions during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, including his recommendation to Soviet leaders that they use nuclear weapons against the United States.

Even after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cuba has clung to its political and economic system.

The state controls well over 90 percent of the economy, paying workers salaries of about $20 a month in return for free health care and education, and nearly free transportation and housing. At least a portion of every citizen's food needs are sold to them through ration books at heavily subsidized prices.

President Raul Castro and others have instituted a series of limited economic reforms, and have warned Cubans that they need to start working harder and expecting less from the government. But the president has also made it clear he has no desire to depart from Cuba's socialist system or embrace capitalism.

Fidel Castro stepped down temporarily in July 2006 due to a serious illness.

By People's Daily Online

(Editor:张心意)

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