Castro regrets missile crisis, says Cuban economic model doesn’t work

In a rare interview, former Cuban dictator also says he fears nuclear war and condemns anti-Semitism

After four years with little public exposure, 84-year-old Fidel Castro is speaking out once more and he’s saying provocative things. The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg was invited to spend three days with the former Cuban dictator after Goldberg penned an article about the potential for nuclear war between Iran and Israel. Castro told Goldberg “the Iranian capacity to inflict damage is not appreciated,” and warned that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will not back down from his threats to Israel. Strikingly, Castro also revealed his support for Israel’s right to exist and his sympathy for the struggle of the Jewish people. “The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust,” he said. On the topic of potential nuclear war, he also said he believes that “Obama could overreact [to Iran] and a gradual escalation could become a nuclear war.” The discussion prompted Goldberg to ask Castro about the logic of his own 1962 request for nuclear weapons from The Soviet Union, which culminated in the Cuban Missile Crisis. “After I’ve seen what I’ve seen, and knowing what I know now, it wasn’t worth it all,” Castro said in his first admission he regrets threatening America. Another significant statement came when Castro’s was asked whether the Cuban economic model is still worth exporting (the state controls roughly 90 per cent of the Cuban economy). “The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore,” he said.

The Atlantic