Wednesday, September 8, 2010
(Above, Fidel around the time of la revolucion; right, a more recent picture)
Jeffrey Goldberg, a correspondent for The Atlantic, reported today that when he asked Fidel Castro if Cuba's economic system was worth exporting abroad, Castro replied, "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore."
This is a stunning admission from the leader of one of the last communist countries in the world, a man whose name has been synonymous with communism since 1959. It's not surprising that the Cuban system does not work -- that has been obvious to all observers (except Michael Moore) for a long time. What's stunning is that Castro would admit it.
Maybe because he's 84, he's just tired of maintaining the lies which have propped up his government for so long. (It's actually surprising he's that young, given how long he seems to have been around.)
It is often said, "Out of the mouths of babes..." The idea is that babies aren't sophisticated enough to understand diplomacy, so they just innocently blurt out the truth. The expression is probably even more apt for old people, who know more than babies, and are past caring.
We've all heard the expression, "I'm too old to lie." I find myself using it fairly frequently these days (in connection with this blog). And I'm nowhere near as old as Fidel. When he first rose to power in 1959, John F. Kennnedy hadn't even been elected president yet. And Nikita Kruschchev was in the middle of his reign in the Soviet Union.
In what was perhaps Krushchev's most famous speech, he once said to a group of Western ambassadors, "We will bury you."
(He never did.)
Fidel, however, has buried Krushchev, along with practically all of his other former comrades: Leonid Brezhnev. Chairman Mao. Marshal Tito. Ho Chi Minh. They were his contemporaries, and they're all long gone.
And now Fidel seems to have buried communism, once and for all.
(Perhaps he and Mr. Obama could exchange jobs; that way each would get to govern the way he really wants.)
Addendum, 9/12/10: Fidel said he was misunderstood, and mean the opposite of what he said. You decide for yourself which of his statements is more honest.