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Fidel Castro’s Goldberg variations

Fidel Castro recently summoned Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg to Havana for an interview. Goldberg’s posts on his time with Castro can all be accessed here. Castro presented himself as a defender of Israel and the Jewish people. He announced the obsolescence of the Cuban model. He regretted his role in the Cuban missile crisis. He even took Goldberg out for an expedition to the aquarium. All in all, this paragon of evil (in Goldberg’s eyes, “a great man”) sounded like an introspective guy and a helluva lot of fun. What gives?
Goldberg certainly had no idea. He brought along with him Julia Sweig, an old chum of Castro’s from the Council on Foreign Relations, to explicate the deep meaning of Castro’s statements. Still, illumination seemed to be lacking.
Sweig, incidentally, is CFR’s senior fellow for Latin America studies. I think it’s fair to say that she is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. In her most recent book on Cuba, for example, Sweig mulls over the difficult question whether Castro is a Communist and declares him to be “a hybrid thinker.”
So what was Castro up to in his magical moments with Jeffrey Goldberg? Mary Anastasia O’Grady argues that Castro was playing Goldberg like, well, a harpsichord, though playing him like a kazoo would probably have sufficed. In her Wall Street Journal column “Weekend at Fidel’s,” it seems to me that O’Grady has solved the riddle posed by Castro’s comments to Goldberg.
UPDATE: Ron Radosh pursues the subject at some length and takes issue with O’Grady.

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