Fidel Castro Admits Cuba's Economic Model Didn't Work

[During] the generally lighthearted conversation (we had just spent three hours talking about Iran and the Middle East), I asked him if he believed the Cuban model was still something worth exporting.

"The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore," he said.

This struck me as the mother of all Emily Litella moments. Did the leader of the Revolution just say, in essence, "Never mind"?

I asked Julia to interpret this stunning statement for me. She said, "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."

Fidel Castro doesn't seem thrilled with the way his revolution is working out. Asked by Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic whether the Cuban model should be exported, he came back with this remarkable reply: "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore." Whaa? Goldberg gets help interpreting from a friend and regional scholar, who says Castro wasn't dissing the "ideas of the revolution," but acknowledging that the state has become bloated.