What is going on with Fidel Castro? The former Cuban President has been rather... candid, lately, admitting gay persecution was his fault and condemning anti-Semitism. Most recently? He told a reporter that the Cuban model of economics "doesn't even work."

Castro, who appears to have entered the "just don't give a shit anymore" phase of his old age, invited The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg down to Cuba just to, sort of... hang out. And, in the midst of their hanging out, Castro seemed to, uh—seemed to take it all back:

"The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore," he said.

This struck me as the mother of all Emily Litella moments. Did the leader of the Revolution just say, in essence, "Never mind"?

I asked [Council on Foreign Relations scholar] Julia [Sweig] to interpret this stunning statement for me. She said, "He wasn't rejecting the ideas of the Revolution. I took it to be an acknowledgment that under 'the Cuban model' the state has much too big a role in the economic life of the country."

But that's not even the weirdest part of Goldberg's Cuban missive crisis—surely that honor goes to his visit to the dolphin aquarium, where he met Che Guevera's daughter, a dolphin veterinarian, and, uh this happened:

"Do you like dolphins?" Fidel asked me.

"I like dolphins a lot," I said.

Fidel called over Guillermo Garcia, the director of the aquarium (every employee of the aquarium, of course, showed up for work — "voluntarily," I was told) and told him to sit with us.

"Goldberg," Fidel said, "ask him questions about dolphins."

"What kind of questions?" I asked.

"You're a journalist, ask good questions," he said, and then interrupted himself. "He doesn't know much about dolphins anyway," he said, pointing to Garcia. He's actually a nuclear physicist."

"You are?" I asked.

"Yes," Garcia said, somewhat apologetically.

"Why are you running the aquarium?" I asked.

"We put him here to keep him from building nuclear bombs!" Fidel said, and then cracked-up laughing.


[The Atlantic]