Fidel Castro Says He Was Misinterpreted

Fidel Castro presenting his book The Strategic Counteroffensive at the University of Havana. Photo: Roberto Chile, estudios revolucion

HAVANA TIMES, Sept. 11 — Fidel Castro said on Friday that he was accurately quoted but misinterpreted in the preview of an in-depth interview conducted in Cuba by US journalist Jeffrey Goldberg accompanied by analyst Julia Sweig.

“I asked him if he believed the Cuban model was still something worth exporting,” said Goldberg writing for Atlantic Magazine.  Castro responded by saying “The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore.”  The quote was immediately top of the news.

Castro told an auditorium of university students and professors on Friday that Goldberg misinterpreted him.  “Obviously, that question implicitly suggested the theory that Cuba exported the Revolution.”  He added, “the truth is that the meaning of my response was exactly the opposite of the interpretation made by both American journalists of the Cuban model.”

The following is the official translation of the entire address by Fidel Castro at the University of Havana on Friday for the presentation of his book “La contraofensiva estrategica” (The strategic counteroffensive.}


We are living through an exceptional moment in human history.

The deadlines established by the United Nations Security Council for Iran to yield to the demands imposed by the United States regarding nuclear research and uranium enrichment for medical purposes and to generate electricity will be expiring in these days.

This is the only nuclear use that has been documented in Iran.

The fear that Iran is looking forward to producing nuclear weapons is only based on an assumption.

With regard to this delicate issue, the United States and its western allies, among them two of the five nuclear powers with veto power –France and the United Kingdom- supported by the richest and most developed capitalist powers of the world, have promoted an increasing number of sanctions against Iran, a rich, oil-producing Muslim country.  Today, the measures adopted include the inspection of Iran’s merchant vessels and severe economic sanctions aimed at suffocating its economy.

I have been following very closely the grave dangers that may result from that situation, because if a war breaks out in that region, it could very quickly go nuclear, and this will have lethal consequences for the rest of the planet.

In referring to such danger I was not looking for publicity or sensationalism.  I just wanted to warn the world public opinion hoping that, being advised of such grave danger it could contribute to avoid it.

At least we have managed to draw attention to a problem that was hardly mentioned by the big world media.

This has made me use part of the time scheduled for the launching of this book, on which we worked diligently.  I did not want this to coincide with the dates of September 7 and 9. September 7 marks the end of the 90 days term established by the Security Council to know whether Iran complied or not with the requirement of authorizing the inspection of its merchant vessels.  September 9 marks the expiration of the three months term fixed by the Resolution adopted on June 9.  Quite possibly the establishment of this last term was what the Security Council intended to do originally.

So far we have only had the weird statement made by the Director General of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), the Japanese Yukiya Amano, a man who serves the interests of the Yankees.  He added all the fuel to the flames and then, like Pontius Pilate, he washed his hands of the issue.

A spokesperson from the Foreign Ministry of Iran commented his statements with a well earned contempt.  According to a news report published by EFE, Amano’s assertion that “‘our friends should not worry, because we don’t believe our region is in the position to engage in new military adventures’ and that ‘Iran was fully prepared to respond to any military invasion’ was an obvious reference to the Cuban leader Fidel Castro, ‘who warned about a possible Israeli nuclear attack against Iran with the support of the United States’”.

News on this topic are pouring and get mixed with others of remarkable repercussion.

The journalist Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic magazine, already known by our people, has been publishing some excerpts of the long interview he made me.  He has been discussing some interesting aspects of it before he finally writes a future and long article.

“There were many odd things about my recent Havana stopover, […]”, he wrote, but one of the most unusual was Fidel Castro’s level of self-reflection […] but it seemed truly striking that Castro was willing to admit that he misplayed his hand at a crucial moment in the Cuban Missile Crisis […] that he regrets asking Khrushchev to nuke the U.S.” It is true that he addressed the topic and he asked me that question.  Literally, as he wrote in the first part of his report, his words were the following: “I asked him: At a certain point it seemed logical for you to recommend that the Soviets bomb the U.S. Does what you recommended still seem logical now?” He answered: “After I’ve seen what I’ve seen, and knowing what I know now, it wasn’t worth it all.”

I had thoroughly explained to him –and there is written evidence of that- the content of that message: “…if the United States invades Cuba, a country with Russian nuclear weapons, under such circumstances Russia should not allow to be dealt the first strike, as the one dealt against the USSR on June 22, 1941, when the German army and all European forces attacked the USSR.”

As can be observed from that brief reference to the issue, from the second part of his report to the audience on that news, readers could not realize that “if the United States invaded Cuba, a country with Russian nuclear weapons”, under such circumstances, my recommendation was to prevent the enemy from launching the first strike; nor the profound irony embedded in my response – “…and knowing what I know now…”, which was an obvious reference to the betrayal by one Russian President who saturated himself with some ethylic substance and revealed to the United States the most important military secrets of that country.

Further on Goldberg wrote about another moment of our conversation: “I asked him if he believed the Cuban model was still something worth exporting.” Obviously, that question implicitly suggested the theory that Cuba exported the Revolution.  So I responded: “The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us anymore”. I said this to him without any bitterness or concern.  And now I laugh at the way he literally interpreted what I said and how, according to him, he consulted it with Julia Sweig, a CFR analyst who accompanied him and worked out the theory he described.  But the truth is that the meaning of my response was exactly the opposite of the interpretation made by both American journalists of the Cuban model.

My idea, as everybody knows, is that the capitalist system does not work anymore either for the United States or the world, which jumps from one crisis into the next, and these are ever more serious, global and frequent and there is no way the world could escape from them.  How could such a system work for a socialist country like Cuba?

Many Arab friends worried when they knew I had met with Goldberg, and sent some messages describing him as “the staunchest advocate of Zionism.”

From all of these we can infer the big confusion that exists in the world. Therefore I hope that what I am telling you about my thoughts could be useful.

The ideas I expressed are contained in 333 Reflections –see what a coincidence.  The last 26 refer exclusively to the problems affecting the environment and the imminent danger of a nuclear war.

And now I should very briefly add something.

I have always condemned the Holocaust.  I my Reflections entitled “Obama’s Speech in Cairo”, “A Swipe Waiting to Happen”, and “The Opinion of an Expert” I expressed this very clearly.

I have never been an enemy of the Jewish people, which I admire for having resisted dispersion and persecution during two thousand years.  Many of the most brilliant talents, such as Karl Marx and Albert Einstein, were Jews, because that was a nation where the most intelligent managed to survive by virtue of a natural law.  In our country and in the whole world they were persecuted and slandered.  But this is just pat of the ideas I defend.

They were not the only one who were persecuted and slandered for their beliefs. Muslims were attacked and persecuted for their beliefs by the European Christians for much more than 12 centuries, just as the first Christians were in ancient Rome before Christianity became an official religion of that empire. History should be accepted and remembered just the way it happened, with all its tragic realities and its fierce wars.  I have spoken about that and that is why I have all the more reason to explain the dangers jeopardizing humankind today, when wars have become the biggest suicide risk for our fragile species.

If we add to this a war against Iran, even if it were of a conventional nature, the United States would rather turn off the light and say goodbye.  How could the US put up with a war against 1.5 million Muslims?

For any true revolutionary, defending peace does not mean to renounce to the principles of justice, without which human life and society would be meaningless.

I still believe that Goldberg is an excellent journalist who is able to set out, in an enjoyable way and masterly way, his views, which promotes debate.  He does not invent phrases; he transfers them and interprets them.

I will not refer to the content of many others aspects of our conversation.  I will respect the secrecy of the issues we discussed and I eagerly await his future long article.

The current news that have started to pour from all sources make me to complement his presentation with these words whose essence is contained in the book “La contraofensiva estratégica” (The Strategic Counteroffensive), which I have just presented.

I believe that all peoples have the right to peace and enjoy all the goods and natural resources of the planet.  What is currently going on with peoples in many countries of Africa, where there are millions of emaciated children, women and men out of lack of food, water and medicines is a shame.  We feel astonished by the images we see from the Middle East, where Palestinians are deprived from their lands, their homes are demolished by gigantic equipment, and men, women and children are bombed with white phosphorus and other extermination means; the Dantesque scenes of families exterminated by the bombs dropped over Afghan and Pakistani towns by drones; the Iraqis who are dying after years of war; and the more than one million lives lost in that conflict imposed by a US President.

The last we could expect to see were the news about the expulsion of the French gypsies, who are victims of a new sort of racial Holocaust. The strong protest by the French is only logical.  At the same time, the millionaires restrict French citizens’ rights to retirement while reducing the possibilities to get a job.

From the US we have heard the news of a pastor in Florida that intends to burn the Holy Book of the Quran in its own church.  Even the Yankee and military chiefs engaged in punitive war missions were disturbed by the news which they believed would put their soldiers in jeopardy.

Walter Martínez, the prestigious journalist who conducts the Venezuelan TV program Dossier, was amazed at such madness.

Yesterday, Thursday 9th in the evening, some news asserted that the pastor had relinquished his idea.  It might be necessary to know what the FBI agents who visited him told him to “persuade him”.  That was a colossal media show, a chaos.  Those are things proper of an empire that is sinking.

I thank all of you for your attention.

10 thoughts on “Fidel Castro Says He Was Misinterpreted

  • September 16, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Julio, I hate to admit it, but it is apparent that state monopoly socialism is collapsing in Cuba. No one and nothing seems able to stop its demise. Oh, well, Humanity . . . Better luck next time!

  • September 14, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Tom Hennessy, given your definition of socialism So they are really failing miserably at socialism too.
    What they have created is a huge corrupt system where doctors or any one else needs of a “gift” to do the work they are already miserably paid by the state.

  • September 14, 2010 at 5:02 am

    Quote: “What the heck is ‘socialism’ anyway?”
    Answer: “No Man left behind” can be used in this context. Socialism is ‘supposed’ to mean imho food shelter healthcare education IN that order and THAT is the intent of socialism. When everyone understands that it will be grand. 😉

  • September 14, 2010 at 3:23 am

    Tom: What I’m thinking is that a country might have nationalized oil reserves and a nationalized extraction and processing industries–Libya, Norway, Mexico, Venezuela, Iraq–but this does not mean that country is “socialist.” I guess it comes back to the question: “What the heck is ‘socialism’ anyway?”

  • September 14, 2010 at 1:29 am

    Quote: might better be compared to oil-rich Norway
    Answer: I’m not sure whether one can really equate Libya with democratic Norway.
    It seems WHEN one goes democratic the capitalists seem to have a field day.
    The resources of the country seem to be funneled with a minimal amount making it into the ‘socialist’ economy.
    Selling the resources to ‘whomever’ will find a way to remove said resources is what destroys the environment.

  • September 13, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Tom Hennessey: I don’t think we can compare Libya to Cuba as two “socialist” countries. It seems to me that Libya might better be compared to oil-rich Norway–that is, still capitalist but with lots of socialistic benefits for the people and lots of socialistic rhetoric from the ruling party.

  • September 13, 2010 at 2:58 am

    What is it about Libya that allows THEM to succeed ? They seem to have one of the highest education and highest home ownership of any Socialist country ? Is it simply the fact they have all this oil money ?
    “Great People’s Socialist Libyan Arab Jamahiriya”

  • September 12, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    The semantic juggling practiced by the U.S. government to deceive and confuse (propaganda) as regards to its true intentions towards the Cuban Revolution, as a subversive strategy in the field of ideas.

    Possibly one of the best examples we can invoke to define the most important U.S.measure against the Cuban economy is the substitution of the word “blockade” with “embargo”.

    The U.S. Government’s intentions are still very much alive today. If only the AVERAGE U.S. citizens knew what these terrible intentions really are: a total economic and genocidal war, even at this very moment, a war more intense than ever; a war where the U.S. Government has weaved a complex spiderweb of prohibitions, penalties and aggressions against Cuba.

    Their intentions are still very much alive today. If only the AVERAGE U.S. citizens knew what these terrible intentions really are: a total economic and genocidal war, even at this very moment, a war more intense than ever; a war where the U.S. Government has weaved a complex spiderweb of prohibitions, penalties and aggressions against Cuba.

  • September 11, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Julio, you get carried away with your own train of thought. You seem to have missed Fidel’s point.

    What was his point? That the question as posed by Goldberg was a “loaded.” By answering it straightforwardly in the way he did, it apparently was misinterpreted as an admission of guilt that Cuba has been trying to “export” their economic model by reprehensible means. He did not mean to imply that, and this is what he was objecting to.

    Fidel did admit candidly however that the state monopoly socialist economic model “does not work anymore” for Cuba. this is the big news and the big point.

    What I you will continue to point out is that, not only does it not work for Cuba anymore, but that it never really has worked in Cuba–or the Soviet Union or anywhere else.

    The conclusion that Fidel and socialists around the world should reach is that the state monopoly economic formula of Marxism is unworkable–period. This is not me speaking. It is nine decades of objective, real-world experimentation.

    If “state monopoly socialist” model does not work, perhaps its time for Fidel and Cuba to experiment with the “state participatory socialist” model put forward by our U.S. movement. That is, let the socialist state only “participate” in non-controlling ownership with the cooperative employee associates of a modern cooperative republic. This would invigorate the economy and give the state ample, quarterly revenues from industry and commerce.

    This of course would require a re-institution of private productive property rights and the socialist–conditioned trading market. In this way both the cooperative workers of industry and commerce, and the small entrepreneurial classes would have a proprietary sense and vested interest, and therefore manage their enterprises efficiently.

  • September 11, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    This is just ridiculous
    there is no missinterpretation on what he said
    He was very clear.
    He was asked about exporting the cuban model and his reply was clear
    it does not work even for Cuba.
    One only have to see how many Cubans have exit Cuba due to this craziness.
    For the first time he may have said the right thing.
    Was this a publicity stunt to launch his book that nobody cares to read?

Comments are closed.