Havana Cuba Business Travel Culture and Politics

Havana Cuba News

Cuba Politics News

Posted September 08, 2010 by publisher in Castro's Cuba

Email this article | Print this article | Search Havana Journal        

Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

You may find it hard to believe…

From the Australian Independent

Cuban troubles are fault of USA, Raul Castro’s daughter claims

The daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro has claimed the United States is responsible for her country’s economic difficulties.

Mariela Castro said today: “The Americans and their criminal trade embargo are to blame for a vast part of our economic problems.”

Speaking to Austrian daily Die Presse, the 48-year-old activist for the rights of homosexuals added: “But it’s true that the (Cuban) Revolution made mistakes. Me and my father want an open debate about these mistakes and further reforms to improve Cuban Socialism.”

Asked what she would chance in her home country, Castro said: “I’d wish more opportunities for critical but fair journalism and the abolishment of all travel restrictions.”

Castro stressed she was convinced Cuba will manage to correct the mistakes made during the current leaderships’ achievements ” to save the Revolution”.

She admitted that the failure of the Revolution and the demise of Cuban Socialism “cannot be ruled out completely” and said: “In that case, I’ll spend my twilight years by deploring the downfall of the Cuban Revolution.”

Castro claimed Cuba was “sick” of other states telling it what to do. She said: “Why should we change our laws only because foreign countries demand us to do so? (…) Cuba is not a dictatorship. The people can elect a parliamentary delegate or not.”

Castro further accused international media of “spreading many clichés which have nothing to do with the real Cuba.”

“We’ve got freedom of opinion. We can say what we think. We can support or oppose a government without going to jail,” she said.

Castro said she had not seen her uncle Fidel Castro since he fell sick some years ago.

She revealed: “I wonder like every other Cuban how he’s doing. My father never spoke about it with me. He only promised to tell me one day how badly he suffered during Fidel’s illness.”

and Fidel says… Cuban economic model doesn’t work

By Paul Haven | Canadian Press

Fidel Castro told a visiting American journalist that Cuba’s communist economic model doesn’t work, a rare comment on domestic affairs from a man who has conspicuously steered clear of local issues since stepping down four years ago.

The fact that things are not working efficiently on this cash-strapped Caribbean island is hardly news. Fidel’s brother Raul, 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.

Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, asked if Cuba’s economic system was still worth exporting to other countries, and 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. The Cuban government had no immediate comment on Goldberg’s account.

Since stepping down from power in 2006, the ex-president 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.

Goldberg, who travelled to Cuba at Castro’s invitation last week to discuss a recent Atlantic article he wrote about Iran’s nuclear program, also reported on 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, Cuba has clung to its communist system.

The state controls well over 90 per cent 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 that nearly killed him.

He resigned permanently two years later, but remains head of the Communist Party. After staying almost entirely out of the spotlight for four years, he re-emerged in July and now speaks frequently about international affairs. He has been warning for weeks of the threat of a nuclear war over Iran.

Castro’s interview with Goldberg is the only one he has given to an American journalist since he left office.

—————————————- Havana Journal Comments—————————————-

Just five years ago Fidel would have blamed the US and Mariela would have blamed Cuba. I guess she is getting ready to be the new leader so she is practicing her propaganda?

How long can Cuba be broken and how broken can it become before everything just shuts down?

Find Cuba on Amazon

  1. Follow up post #1 added on September 09, 2010 by miguel with 41 total posts

    Interview with Mariela Castro has little of interest – only a typical example of exaggerating press headlines (Mariela Castro is quoted saying that the embargo is to blame for “a vast part” of Cubas economic problems, not the headline’s absolute wording that the “Cuban troubles are fault of USA”). A typical press story whose principal raison d’être is the poor journalist’s obligation to produce his daily quantity of lines.

    The most interesting thing in the Paul Haven’s story is that Fidel Castro’s casual remark during a lunch with Jeffrey Goldberg is one more indication of the futility of the speculations on possible contradictions between the first secretary and the president of government. Even Mr. Haven, whose article on the July 26 celebrations started the whole debate in this journal, seems to have abandoned them (“Since stepping down from power in 2006, the ex-president has ... said very little about Cuba and its politics, perhaps to limit the perception he is stepping on his brother’s toes.”)

    And for a serious observer of Cuba there will be very little surprising in Fidel Castro’s remark to Jeffrey Goldberg.

  2. Follow up post #2 added on September 09, 2010 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    A serious observer of Cuba that is not surprised with this last Fidel Castro remarks is simply NOT a serious observer.

    This is the most substantial and absolutely the most surprising gesture from Fidel Castro’s side in the last 50 years.

    Is not surprising the fact that he acknowledge that only after imposing that particular economic model for over 50 years?

    I wonder, what is surprising for you?

  3. Follow up post #3 added on September 10, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Castro says he was misinterpreted on Cuban economy


    Fidel Castro says his comments about Cuba’s communist economic model were misinterpreted by a visiting American journalist.

    Appearing at the University of Havana on Friday, the 84-year-old ex-president says he meant “exactly the opposite” of the quote contained in a blog by Atlantic magazine reporter Jeffrey Goldberg.

    Goldberg wrote Wednesday that he asked Castro if Cuba’s economic system was still worth exporting to other countries. He said that Castro replied: “The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore.”


    I guess the old man better keep his mouth shut so when he says “The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore.” that it won’t be interpreted as “exactly the opposite” of what he means.

    Who do you believe Fidel or the Atlantic journalist?

    Haven’t people just had enough of this guy. It’s not even funny anymore. It’s just sad.

    Cuba consulting services

  4. Follow up post #4 added on September 10, 2010 by miguel with 41 total posts

    Yeyo (# 2): I do not agree that an isolated casual remark made over a lunch could be called Fidel Castro’s “most substantial gesture ... in the last 50 years”. Then he would be an extremely passive person.

    Neither is it very surprising that the former president says the same as the present (Raul Castro) – according to our source Paul Haven from AP – “has said repeatedly”. I thought that you and I agreed that those two seem still to act in unison.

    And it is bad work to interpret a casual remark over a lunch as a political statement. It is obvious that Fidel Castro did not take Goldberg’s question on “exporting Cuba’s economic system” seriously.

  5. Follow up post #5 added on September 11, 2010 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    Miguel, that it’s NOT how the Castro political machine works.
    A casual remark is what you or I can make but NOT when is made by a country leader….at those levels there are no such thing like “casual remarks”.

    I do not know what is your base to say that “It is obvious that Fidel Castro did not take Goldberg’s question on exporting Cuba’s economic system seriously”. Mr. Golberg is a trained journalist and he took it very seriously, there were other people present during the meeting and all of them took it also seriously.

    At least I had never heard Fidel Castro or Raul Castro acknowledging something like that and the fact is that apparently most people around the world including Cuban experts and news agencies thought that the statement was very surprising to the point that it was reported all around the world.

  6. Follow up post #6 added on September 12, 2010 by miguel with 41 total posts


    ”A country leader cannot make casual remarks.” Your statement taken literally is absurd. I suppose you mean to say that even casual remarks by prominent persons tend to make headlines in the media. That is correct, and sometimes they are made on purpose to that end, but this seems not to be the case here. Fidel Castro’s remark was made “casually over a lunch” and “not elaborated” – these are Mr. Goldberg’s words. Do you disagree?

    That some media presented Fidel Castro’s remark as an almost sensational statement may only reflect their need for headlines or their lack of familiarity with Cuban politics. As Paul Haven correctly states in his article: The news is not the contents of Fidel Castro’s remark – such things have been said by Raul Castro repeatedly (although you have not heard it) – but that he utters a comment on domestic affairs, a thing he normally declines.

    I base my opinion that Fidel Castro did not take Mr. Goldberg’s question seriously on his sarcastic comments September 10 to the idea of “exporting Cuba’s economic system to other countries”. And I doubt that the Cubans ever believed in such a thing (which is implied in the wording of Mr. Goldberg’s question: “Is the system STILL worth exporting ...”).

    National economic systems can hardly be exported. Visions or principles may be adhered to by others, but their implementation (the “system”) will almost necessarily be different.

  7. Follow up post #7 added on September 13, 2010 by pipefitter with 275 total posts

    Looks like you’ve been scouped again Pub, the Cubastandard in Miami as well as Granma on monday is reporting on big changes in the Cuban labour sector with a big shift from state employment to private and co-op owned buisnesses etc. 1 million workers will be shifted from state to private and other forms of employment in Cuba. Take a look, http://www.cubastandard.com/ and http://www.granma.cu/espanol/cuba/13septiembre-pronunciamiento.html

  8. Follow up post #8 added on September 14, 2010 by Yeyo with 411 total posts

    Miguel, I thought about not replying but your post is so out of touch that I have no alternative than to comment about it.
    What I said was clear and I keep it, country leaders do not make “casual remarks”, they surely are humans and may gaffes but every single comment counts because they are country leaders. Every word that comes from Fidel Castro’s mouth is considered by everyone, whether he said it over lunch or in front of everyone at the Revolution Square is no difference, he is still the country leader. By the way in this case it was over lunch, but it was a lunch with journalists, and in front of cameras, it was clear that every word was being made public. Probably different would be that commentary over lunch with his family and no cameras.
    In this particular case I presume that Castro simply relaxed and said it, maybe by mistake, however is very clear that he mean what he said and it was not sarcasm. The fact and the matter is that the Cuban model do not work, that is not a secret, the whole world, including Fidel and Raul Castro have known that for many years but they have stick to it as their way to stay in power.

    Regarding your comment “National economic systems can hardly be exported. Visions or principles may be adhered to by others, but their implementation (the “system”) will almost necessarily be different”.
    A little bit of history would not kill you, refer yourself to the old socialist countries in Europe where every one of them have a socialist economic SYSTEM copied from the Soviet Union. The Cuban System was also copied from the Soviet Union. So National Economic Systems CAN indeed be copied as the history has proven.

  9. Follow up post #9 added on September 14, 2010 by miguel with 41 total posts

    Yeyo: Thank you anyway for your answer. My opinion is: The Soviet political and economic system was not exported to, but rather forced on the other European states of the Soviet block. It was copied by Cuba for reasons which we shall not discuss here. I think that neither Fidel Castro nor Jeffrey Goldberg have ever imagined Cuba to intend to force its system on others, so I do not think that your example is good. And still there were considerable differences between the economic systems even between the countries of the Soviet block.
    Agree that much attention is always given to what state leaders say (I wrote that too). Do you disagree that remarks are often interpreted badly? Do you still disagree with Paul Haven (and me) that Fidel Castro only repeated a view which Raul Castro has uttered IN PUBLIC various times? Then you should come up with some arguments to that end.
    I did not say that Fidel Castro’s response to Mr. Goldberg was sarcastic, but his comment to the story September 10 (I watched it on TV). Of course he meant what he said, but he did not take the question more seriously than to be given a trivial answer – which was erroneously presented as sensational by some media.
    I notice that the publisher in his comments to the latest stories in this journal goes on with the theories that Raul Castro is for reforms and Fidel Castro against.

Would you like to add more information?

Only members can add more information. Please register or log in

  • Advertise at Havana Journal Inc
We recommend this AirBnB Food and Drink Experience... Cuban flavors: Food, Rum and Cigars
Images of Cuba
Plaza de San Francisco
Follow Havana Journal
SUBSCRIBE to our Cuba Watch newsletter
LIKE us on Facebook

FOLLOW us on Twitter

CONNECT with us on Linked In

Section Archive
Havana Journal, Inc. BBB Business Review

Member of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy