None other than Fidel Castro
himself now appears to have given up on Cuba’s archaic communist system.
The revolutionary leader last week
launched a surprise attack on the state-controlled economy he helped create 50
years ago during an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, a correspondent for The
Goldberg asked the aging leader if
Cuba’s economic system was still worth exporting to other nations and was
stunned by Castro’s brutally honest response. “The Cuban model doesn’t
even work for us anymore,” said the 84-year-old former president, Goldberg
wrote in a blog post.
Made in an “off-hand way,” Goldberg
said the former Cuban leader wasn’t joking. “I think this was an honest
recognition on his part that his brother must re-order Cuba’s economic system
in order to keep the country afloat,” he said.
Of course, the revelation that
things aren’t going well on the cash-starved Caribbean island isn’t news to
many people in the outside world. Cuba continues to suffer from the 48-year-old
U.S trade embargo and has recently been battered by three hurricanes and a
hefty drop in the price of nickel, its main export.
Fidel’s younger brother Raul, who
took over as president when his sibling fell seriously ill in 2006, has
repeatedly called for wide-ranging reform of the state-controlled economy. And
Raul has attempted to stanch the country’s decline with limited economic liberalisation
and warned Cubans that they will need to work harder and expect less from the
government. (The state pays workers salaries of about $20 a month in return for
free health care and education, and almost free transportation and housing.)
However, he has also said that Cuba
won’t abandon socialism.