Castro: The “Cuban model” doesn’t work anymore

posted at 7:22 pm on September 8, 2010 by Allahpundit

A clammy encounter with the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg between lunch and an afternoon dolphin show produces a tantalizing tidbit:

But 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.”

Julia pointed out that one effect of such a sentiment might be to create space for his brother, Raul, who is now president, to enact the necessary reforms in the face of what will surely be push-back from orthodox communists within the Party and the bureaucracy. Raul Castro is already loosening the state’s hold on the economy. He recently announced, in fact, that small businesses can now operate and that foreign investors could now buy Cuban real estate. (The joke of this new announcement, of course, is that Americans are not allowed to invest in Cuba, not because of Cuban policy, but because of American policy. In other words, Cuba is beginning to adopt the sort of economic ideas that America has long-demanded it adopt, but Americans are not allowed to participate in this free-market experiment because of our government’s hypocritical and stupidly self-defeating embargo policy. We’ll regret this, of course, when Cubans partner with Europeans and Brazilians to buy up all the best hotels).

Insert the hacky “Cuban model”/Hopenchange joke of your choosing right here. A serious question, though: Elsewhere in this same interview, Castro railed against Iranian anti-semitism and explicitly told Goldberg he was saying it “so you can communicate it” to Ahmadinejad. I.e. he’s very consciously using this as an opportunity to send messages to world leaders. Presumably his point about the “Cuban model” is meant as a communique to American leaders that a little capitalist outreach right now might be received, if not warmly, at least not coldly. Obama’s too far left to get away with that politically but if he got some cover from the GOP — in particular, a Senator Rubio would be exceedingly helpful — it might give him space to reconsider the embargo. Ed argued last year that it’s time to drop it, partly because the Castro boys have been reduced to decrepit old jokes internationally and partly because outreach might do more to earn concessions on democracy and human rights at this point than further isolation. Something to think about?


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Pigs are now flying by my office window.

xler8bmw on September 9, 2010 at 10:16 AM

The funniest thing will be the far left in the US saying Castro is a traitor to socialism.

Paul-Cincy on September 9, 2010 at 10:44 AM

Castro is nearing the end of his life and fearing for his personal legacy and image. He is maneuvering himself to be a respected Elder Statesman. Let’s just go with it and hope some good will come from these reversals.

pseudonominus on September 9, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Oh crap. What are we going to do with all these Che’ T-shirts?

RadClown on September 9, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Danny Glover hardest hit.

mankai on September 9, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Gloria Estefan to Obama:

Um, never mind.

pain train on September 9, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Watching their country wither on the vine must be particularly galling to the brothers who spent so much time and their countries blood forcing rigid adherence to a system that failed in almost every way possible. In the same interview he said he shouldn’t have killed all those gays too. Color me not that sympathetic.

Zekecorlain on September 9, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Just start breaking windows down there, apparently that’s the key to economic growth from what my lefty friends tell me.

mankai on September 9, 2010 at 11:06 AM

A coming to Jesus moment in his waning years, after ruining a country, countless lives lost and exporting terror for over 60 years. It’s always been about this narcissistic, power hungry killer. Don’t get excited, I’m talking about Castro.

Kissmygrits on September 9, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Whoa, talk about knocking me out of my chair this morning!

upinak on September 9, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Musta been a wiff of brimstone that changed his mind.

Now tell that to Pres. BO

Wander on September 9, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Castro > Franco?

Mary in LA on September 9, 2010 at 11:45 AM

2 Socialist experiments fail in 2010

faraway on September 9, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Of course, Castro originally came to the US for help, we snubbed him, then he headed on over to the USSR and the rest is history. …

gordo on September 9, 2010 at 1:08 AM

There’s an urban legend (sadly untrue) that the Washington Senators passed on a promising young first baseman by the name of Fidel Castro, and if they had drafted him, history might have been quite different.

Mary in LA on September 9, 2010 at 11:50 AM

“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” — Winston Churchill

J_Crater on September 9, 2010 at 11:56 AM

Dear Comrade Cubanos,

Psych!

XOXO

Fidel

Wyznowski on September 9, 2010 at 12:14 PM

Rush is talking about this.

faraway on September 9, 2010 at 12:28 PM

gordo on September 9, 2010 at 1:08 AM

Since he is an evil man, we would have been trading one set of crappy circumstances for another.
Just like with China.
How ’bout we all learn our lessons from history & QUIT TRADING WITH BAD PEOPLE?
Trading & relating to a communist country where humans rights records are abysmal does NOTHING for the citizens who live there.
And we have only to show China as a model for that-the opening up of ‘free’ markets has led to a lot of destruction there. But of course we don’t see it bcs they carefully control what is seen.
Yeah I know, lots of Chinese people have a better quality of life in some ways blah blah blah.
But they aren’t coming by their capitalism honestly.
The govt still controls everything with a heavy hand.
And bcs these people haven’t learned the moral lessons of capitalism through working hard to create a democratic or republican govt, they have not learned the lessons that we did.
Look at China’s environment.
Look at the peasants in the country.
Things can look good on the outside-but they really aren’t all that rosy inside.
America should not be dealing with people who oppress their own.

Badger40 on September 9, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Sounds like Rip Van Castro to me.

Oil Can on September 9, 2010 at 12:45 PM

So we’re going further left, while even Cuba is going right. Amazing.

Esthier on September 9, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Danny Glover hardest hit.

mankai on September 9, 2010 at 10:53 AM

He and Chevy Chase should get together for a cry-fest. Get Michael Moore to join and hold hands; they can be a dope ring (old joke).

mad scientist on September 9, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Of course, Castro originally came to the US for help, we snubbed him, then he headed on over to the USSR and the rest is history. …

gordo on September 9, 2010 at 1:08 AM

Yep. And when one recalls the part of that history where we came within a hairbreadth of a nuclear Armageddon…not our finest hour.

Of course, we seem equally incapable of learning that some people should not be assisted no matter how much we dislike their current enemies. *cough*AfghanTaliban*cough*

Dark-Star on September 9, 2010 at 1:31 PM

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.”

Well give that man a cigar! Oh, never mind…

oldleprechaun on September 9, 2010 at 1:40 PM

crr6 is crushed. Where will it go for medical care now?

darwin on September 9, 2010 at 1:40 PM

Michael Moore must be crushed.

vcferlita on September 9, 2010 at 1:56 PM

Michael Moore must be crushed.

vcferlita on September 9, 2010 at 1:56 PM

The square mile grease spot that results will be a hazardous waste zone!

slickwillie2001 on September 9, 2010 at 2:05 PM

I think I just figured it out.

He’s working on some gentle steps toward kissing up to President-elect Rubio in 2016.

JEM on September 9, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Multiple Choice;

1. He is sucking up to shake us down for bucks.

2. It’s a confession due to his recent near death illness.

3. He ran out of spare parts for his ’57 Chevy and needs to replace it with a Government Motors Volt.

4. All of the above!

Done That on September 9, 2010 at 3:25 PM

But they have such great health care, and literacy and all…

Akzed on September 9, 2010 at 4:07 PM

Well then. I guess that makes everything OK now. What say Shriners? Hey you, American Legion, why not have your next convention in Havana? Fidel said it was all just a big mistake.

Mr. Grump on September 9, 2010 at 5:02 PM

I felt sort of sorry for him. I know, that’s crazy. But still.

AnninCA on September 9, 2010 at 7:11 PM

Tommy_G on September 8, 2010 at 7:32 PM

With the most serene beaches this side of heaven. What a great tourist destination this island was before he took over. Of course he and his socialist buddies destroyed that in an instant, and I’m not sure why.

Actually, it still is a great tourist destination where the Europeans have been vacationing for decades. One of the biggest draws is the lack of Americans and the Euros say if we ever lift the embargo and start coming back, they’re outta there. The tourist industry is intact. The problem is, except for being allowed to work in it, ordinary Cubans don’t derive any benefit from it (nor are they allowed in the hotels/resorts as guests, as if any of them could afford it).

gordo on September 9, 2010 at 1:08 AM

Of course, Castro originally came to the US for help, we snubbed him, then he headed on over to the USSR and the rest is history. If Eisenhower and our idiot State Department had been a little more on the ball, the last 50 years could have been quite different.

Maybe. I remember when he came to New York post-revolution
on his public relations tour. He was quite the dashing figure, a charmer who assured us he was no communist, didn’t like communists, wasn’t influenced by communists. What we didn’t know at the time (although I’m quite sure Ike and Dulles did) was that as soon as he attained a position of power in the government, he began to purge it of democrats, confiscate private property and oppose elections. I think he dye was cast before he got snubbed by the American president.

SukieTawdry on September 9, 2010 at 8:13 PM

Deflection alert! The guy is a Dictator…with a capital ‘D’. If he wants to have a free market economy with private property rights, he can do it tomorrow.

This does not smell right.

Something is amiss. Call me paranoid, but, 2+2=5 only works when liberals control the State Department.

percysunshine on September 9, 2010 at 8:20 PM

I think he’s an old man now and has finally come to grips with the reality of his own mistakes and the problems they’ve created and found enough humility to admit them. It’s one of the dubious perks of getting old—self realization.I hope Cuba and the US can find common ground again. However, there’s quite a large segment in Florida who would take issue with that!!!

jeanie on September 9, 2010 at 10:35 PM

Hmmm.

1. Castro brothers talk up about opening up Cuba to economic “reforms” and allowing more private business investment.

2. A gullible public abetted by so called “pundits” who really should know better since this same damn thing has happened a dozen times before with the Castro brothers, Cuba and foreign investors.

3. Once there is as much foreign investment into Cuba as anybody is going to see in the short term … the Castro brothers nationalize all foreign assets and steal anything that isn’t nailed down.

4. Now the Castro brothers do a massive clamp down on dissent which, like Mao’s “100 Flowers” campaign, showed the internal security agencies just who needs to be imprisoned.

5. Goto #1 and repeat as necessary until somebody figures it out.

memomachine on September 9, 2010 at 10:36 PM

memomachine on September 9, 2010 at 10:36 PM

I suppose that’s one possible scenario, but I don’t think so this time. Think both men may have had a look back moment and realized it’s self defeating to repeat what went wrong in the first place…Communist or not. Perhaps modeled on China?

jeanie on September 9, 2010 at 10:43 PM

I know, that’s crazy. But still.

AnninCA on September 9, 2010 at 7:11 PM

You are right in your self assessment.
It is crazy to feel sorry for an oppressor & murderer of a once free people.
I would feel sorry for all the Cuban refugees who can’t live in their home country anymore.
And I’d feel sorry for the Cubans who have to live under the yoke of oppression now.

Badger40 on September 10, 2010 at 11:25 AM

5. Goto #1 and repeat as necessary until somebody figures it out.

memomachine on September 9, 2010 at 10:36 PM

Spot on.
Which is why it’s a huge gamble to deal with countries that oppress their people.
Ask the oil companies that had invested in Venezuela how they feel.
Course who wants to feel sorry for those guys, right?

Badger40 on September 10, 2010 at 11:28 AM

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