View Full Version : Report: Castro blasts Ahmadinejad as anti-Semitic

07 Sep 10,, 22:55
Report: Castro blasts Ahmadinejad as anti-Semitic

By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press Writer Will Weissert, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 12 mins ago

HAVANA – Fidel Castro criticized Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for what he called his anti-Semitic attitudes and questioned his own actions during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 during interviews with an American journalist he summoned to Havana to discuss fears of global nuclear war.

Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, blogged on the magazine's website Tuesday that he was on vacation last month when the head of the Cuban Interests Section in Washington — which Cuba maintains there instead of an embassy — called to say Castro had read his recent article about Israel and Iran and wanted him to come to Cuba.

Goldberg asked Julia Sweig, a Cuba-U.S. policy expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, to accompany him, and the pair spent portions of three days talking with Castro.

Cuba's state-controlled media reported Aug. 31 that Goldberg and Sweig met with Castro and attended the dolphin show at Havana's aquarium, but the blog was the first to reveal details of what they discussed.

Goldberg said their first meeting lasted five hours and featured appearances by Castro's wife, Dalia, his son Antonio, and several bodyguards, two of which held his elbow to steady Castro when he moved.

"His body may be frail, but his mind is acute, his energy level is high," wrote Goldberg, who also noted Castro's self-deprecating humor.

The 84-year-old ex-president wore full military fatigues and an olive-green cap while addressing university students last week, and had previously appeared in public in a military shirt. But Goldberg saw Castro in a red shirt, sweat pants, and black New Balance sneakers.

He said Castro, who himself has been a fierce critic of Israel, "repeatedly returned to his excoriation of anti-Semitism," chiding Ahmadinejad for denying the Holocaust. Castro said that Iran could further the cause of peace by "acknowledging the 'unique' history of anti-Semitism and trying to understand why Israelis fear for their existence."

The gray-bearded revolutionary related to Goldberg a story from his childhood that has been detailed by some biographers: that he overheard classmates saying Jews killed Jesus Christ.

"I didn't know what a Jew was. I knew of a bird that was a called a 'Jew,' and so for me the Jews were those birds," Goldberg quoted Castro as telling him. Castro later added, "This is how ignorant the entire population was."

According to Goldberg, Castro said, "I don't think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews. I would say much more than the Muslims."

Castro also said that the Iranian government should understand that the Jews "were expelled from their land, persecuted and mistreated all over the world, as the ones who killed God."

After undergoing emergency intestinal surgery in July 2006, giving up Cuba's presidency and dropping out of sight for four years, Castro has begun making near-daily public appearances to warn of a nuclear war pitting the U.S. and Israel against Iran and also featuring a Washington-led attack on North Korea.

"This problem is not going to get resolved, because the Iranians are not going to back down in the face of threats," Castro told Goldberg.

Goldberg also said he revisited the Cuban Missile Crisis with Castro, asking if once "it seemed logical for you to recommend that the Soviets bomb the U.S."

"Does what you recommended still seem logical now?"

Castro's answer surprised him: "After I've seen what I've seen, and knowing what I know now, it wasn't worth it all."


Fidel to Ahmadinejad: 'Stop Slandering the Jews' - International - The Atlantic (http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/09/fidel-to-ahmadinejad-stop-slandering-the-jews/62566/)
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07 Sep 10,, 23:11
Ah, thank you, Commandante Obvious.

08 Sep 10,, 04:48
I wonder what does Castro's Venezulan friend have to say about these comments on Ahmedinejad.

09 Sep 10,, 18:06
"After I've seen what I've seen, and knowing what I know now, it wasn't worth it all."
May be it is never late for an old and ill despot to return to his senses. Hugo is not that far away from the same reality.

10 Sep 10,, 05:57
HAVANA—Cuba's communist economic model has come in for criticism from an unlikely source: Fidel Castro.
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The revolutionary leader told a visiting American journalist and a U.S.-Cuba policy expert that the island's state-dominated system is in need of change, a rare comment on domestic affairs from a man who has taken pains to steer clear of local issues since illness forced him to step down as president four years ago.

The fact that things are not working efficiently on this cash-strapped Caribbean island is hardly news. Fidel's brother Raul, the country's president, has said the same thing repeatedly. But the blunt assessment by the father of Cuba's 1959 revolution is sure to raise eyebrows.

Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, asked Castro if Cuba's economic system was still worth exporting to other countries, and Castro replied: "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore," Goldberg wrote Wednesday in a post on his Atlantic blog.

The Cuban government had no immediate comment on Goldberg's account.

Julia Sweig, a Cuba expert at the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations who accompanied Goldberg on the trip, confirmed the Cuban leader's comment, which he made at a private lunch last week.

She told The Associated Press she took the remark to be in line with Raul Castro's call for gradual but widespread reform.

"It sounded consistent with the general consensus in the country now, up to and including his brother's position," Sweig said.

In general, she said she found the 84-year-old Castro to be "relaxed, witty, conversational and quite accessible."

"He has a new lease on life, and he is taking advantage of it," Sweig said.

Castro stepped down temporarily in July 2006 due to a serious illness that nearly killed him.

He resigned permanently two years later, but remains head of the Communist Party. After staying almost entirely out of the spotlight for four years, he re-emerged in July and now speaks frequently about international affairs. He has been warning for weeks of the threat of a nuclear war over Iran.

But the ex-president has said very little about Cuba and its politics, perhaps to limit the perception he is stepping on his brother's toes.

Goldberg, who traveled to Cuba at Castro's invitation last week to discuss a recent Atlantic article he wrote about Iran's nuclear program, also reported on Tuesday that Castro questioned his own actions during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, including his recommendation to Soviet leaders that they use nuclear weapons against the United States.

Even after the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba has clung to its communist system.

The state controls well over 90 percent of the economy, paying workers salaries of about $20 a month in return for free health care and education, and nearly free transportation and housing. At least a portion of every citizen's food needs are sold to them through ration books at heavily subsidized prices.

Cuba says much of its suffering is caused by the 48-year-old U.S. trade embargo. The economy has also been slammed by the global economic downturn, a drop in nickel prices and the fallout from three devastating hurricanes that hit in quick succession in 2008. Corruption and inefficiency have exacerbated problems.

As president, Raul Castro has instituted a series of limited economic reforms, and has warned Cubans that they need to start working harder and expecting less from the government. But the president has also made it clear he has no desire to depart from Cuba's socialist system or embrace capitalism.

Fidel Castro's interview with Goldberg is the only one he has given to an American journalist since he left office.

Here is the link Fidel latest to say Cuba's communism doesn't work - Boston.com (http://www.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2010/09/09/fidel_latest_to_say_cubas_communism_doesnt_work/?p1=Well_MostPop_Emailed6)

Probably "it wasn't worth it " after all.

01 Oct 10,, 00:37
Wait...what? First Castro says communism was bad for his country, then he says the jews have been much more maligned than the muslims, and the Cuban missile crisis was "bad." What is this bizarro world I'm in? Next thing I know, Castro wins the Nobel peace prize. WTF!

02 Oct 10,, 23:11
If anyone can translate this please help:

24 de Septiembre 2010

Estimado Sr. Presidente Fidel Castro,

He leído los comentarios que Ud. hizo durante la entrevista otorgada al periodista Jeffrey Goldberg y me han conmovido profundamente. Debo admitir que vuestras palabras me resultaron inesperadas y de una original y especial profundidad intelectual .

Yo se que bajo las montanas de las controversias ideologicas existe - debe existir un alma humana, sin la cual no tiene sentido la vida o al menos, seria muy difícil entenderla.
Ud. Ha describto el sufrimiento del pueblo judío en su marcha por el desierto, de la esclavitud hacia la Tierra Prometida, el Holocausto que extermino un tercio de nuestro pueblo y el sufrimiento que fue parte de nuestra historia y lo ha hecho en una forma muy conmovedora.

Es un camino muy difícil, es un dolor que no se puede borrar. Aun asi, jamás no hemos perdido la esperanza humana, la esperanza de igualdad que no permite dividir a los hombres en esclavos y duenos , la esperanza de una fe donde no es permitido inclinarse frente a falsos dioses y la esperanza de paz entre las personas y entre los pueblos. Desde entonces ansiamos, como en los dias del recibimiento de la Torah, que los Diez Mandamientos nos guien en nuestro camino, hacia nosotros mismos y hacia el prójimo.Cuba es una isla rodeada de mar. Israel es una isla política, rodeada de amenazas. Ud trato de navegar hacia grandes mares, para poder mostrar que pequenez geográfica no necesiariamente significa pequenez humana.

Nosotros tratamos de probar que pequenez politica no deberia ser pequenez de valores. Y es por eso que nosotros queremos ver en nuestros vecinos a nuestros amigos.Y cuanto mas bien y mejor ellos estén , mejor será para nosotros. Sus palabras han sido una especie de puente sorprendente entre la dura realidad y un nuevo horizonte.

Y es por eso que le quiero agradecer sinceramente.

Ha demostrado que lejanos pueden también ser cercanos.

Lo saluda atentamente ,
Shimon Peres
Presidente del Estado de Israel Link (http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/09/the-shimon-peres-letter-to-fidel-castro/63749/)

03 Oct 10,, 19:12
Castro - an old man , on verge of death- has he become a believer ? Is he preparing for his meeting with the creator and hence confessing his sins?

There certainly seems to be no strategic thinking behind this statements.
What to make of all of this- an old man's confession - removing all pent up guilt from his heart?

04 Oct 10,, 20:55
Castro - an old man , on verge of death- has he become a believer ? Is he preparing for his meeting with the creator and hence confessing his sins?

There certainly seems to be no strategic thinking behind this statements.
What to make of all of this- an old man's confession - removing all pent up guilt from his heart?
Oldman might be unable to move around much but it seems his brain has just started functioning. New Cuban economic policies are in dire need of foreign investments, and that will not happen without reaching out to free market world.

06 Oct 10,, 13:55
September 24, 2010

Dear Mr. President Fidel Castro,

I read the comments you made during the interview with the journalist Jeffrey Goldberg and they moved me deeply. I must admit that your words to me were unexpected and of original and special intellectual depth.

I know that under the mountains of ideological disputes it is - there must be: a human soul, without which life is meaningless or at least would be very difficult to understand.
You have describe the suffering of the Jewish people in their march through the desert, from slavery to the Promised Land, the Holocaust that exterminated a third of our people and the suffering that was part of our history and you have done so in a very moving ( fashion ).

It is a very difficult road, it is a pain that can not be erased. Still, we have never lost the human hope, the hope of equality that does not allow men to divide in slaves and owners, the hope of a faith which is not allowed bowing before false gods and the hope for peace between people and among peoples. Since then we look forward, as in the days of receiving the Torah, the Ten Commandments to guide us on our way , towards us and towards the fellow men. Cuba is an island surrounded by sea. Israel is a political island, surrounded by threats. You try to navigate to high seas, in order to show that geographical smallness , does not necessary means smallness of the human ( soul ).

We try to prove that petty politics should not be (of) smallness value. And that's why we want to see in our neighbors, our friends . The better they are, the better for us. Your words have been an amazing sort of bridge between the harsh reality and a new horizon (as in future).

And that's why I want to thank you sincerely.

You have shown that remote can also be nearby.

Yours sincerely,
Shimon Peres
President of the State of Israel

Double Edge
06 Oct 10,, 17:40
Castro - an old man , on verge of death- has he become a believer ? Is he preparing for his meeting with the creator and hence confessing his sins?

There certainly seems to be no strategic thinking behind this statements.
What to make of all of this- an old man's confession - removing all pent up guilt from his heart?
Legacy and smoothing the way for his decendants.

The history books will say he did this & that but...

Reminds in some ways of Gaddafi.

06 Oct 10,, 19:12
I can already see the leftists in North America and Western Europe having a conniption over this.

Double Edge
06 Oct 10,, 20:46
Thing is what do the cuban immigrants in Florida make of it ?

Enough to allow normalisation of relations between the two countries or not.

I say this because FL is a swing state in the presidential elections and no candidate wants to risk losing it.

Lose FL, lose the election.

They are the only reason the US has still not normalised relations with Cuba.