Havana: A US journalist has confirmed that Fidel Castro told him the Cuban economic model no longer works for the communist island, despite the revolutionary leader`s denials.
Castro, who left the presidency in 2006, recently gave a rare three-day interview to The Atlantic magazine`s Jeffrey Goldberg, who was accompanied by a Cuba expert from the US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
According to The Atlantic, which published its account on Wednesday, the 84-year-old Cuban revolutionary icon joked about the state of the Cuban economy.
However, Castro said on Friday he made the statement "without anger or worry. Now I`m amused to see how (the Atlantic reporter) interpreted it literally" in consultation with a CFR expert.
My answer, Castro said, "meant exactly the opposite" of what the reporter wrote, Castro said, speaking at an event presenting the second volume of his autobiography.
But Goldberg shot back late Friday, insisting he quoted Castro accurately and did not misinterpret him. "I`m sorry to say it, but I think the expression, `The Cuban model doesn`t even work for us anymore` means, `The Cuban model doesn`t even work for us anymore,`" Goldberg wrote on The Atlantic`s website.
Castro said he was clear about Goldberg`s intention when he asked if the Cuban model was still worth exporting: "It`s obvious that implicit in the question was the theory that Cuba was exporting the revolution."
Goldberg added in his posting, however: "Just as a language experiment, here is what the opposite of his statement would sound like: `The Cuban model works so well for us that we want to export it.`”
"But he didn`t say this. What he said was -- well, you`ve read what he said. I`m not sure how this statement -- accurately quoted, according to Fidel -- could mean anything other than what it means."
In Washington, CFR expert Julia Sweig, who was present at the interview, said on Friday she had a slightly different take on Castro`s quote.
Castro "wasn`t joking and when I heard him saying that, I took him to mean the economic model doesn`t work anymore, not the revolution, not the socialist ethos, not the independence spirit, not you know, the revolution, just the model," said Sweig.