By Jeff Franks
HAVANA (Reuters) - Fidel Castro said Cuba'seconomic model no longer works, a U.S.-based journalistreported Wednesday following interviews with the formerpresident last week.
Jeffrey Goldberg, a writer for the Atlantic Monthlymagazine, wrote in a blog that he asked Castro, 84, if Cuba'smodel -- Soviet-style communism -- was still worth exporting toother countries and he replied, "The Cuban model doesn't evenwork for us anymore."
The comment appeared to reflect Castro's agreement, whichhe also expressed in a column for Cuban media in April, withhis younger brother President Raul Castro, who has initiatedmodest reforms to stimulate Cuba's troubled economy.
Goldberg said Julia Sweig, a Cuba expert at the Council onForeign Relations think tank in Washington who accompanied himto Havana, believed Castro's words reflected an acknowledgmentthat "the state has too big a role in the economic life of thecountry."
Such sentiment would help President Castro, who took overfrom his brother in 2008, against those members of the rulingCommunist Party who oppose his attempts to loosen the state'shand, Sweig told Goldberg.
Goldberg wrote in a blog on Tuesday that Castro summonedhim to Havana to discuss his recent article about thelikelihood of conflict between Israel and Iran, with possibleU.S. involvement, over Iran's growing nuclear capabilities.
He said Castro criticized Iranian President MahmoudAhmadinejad for anti-Semitism and denying the Holocaust.
Castro, since emerging in July from four years of seclusionfollowing intestinal surgery, has become an anti-nuclear weaponcrusader expressing concern about the future of the world.
He fears that if the United States and Israel try toenforce international sanctions against Iran for its nuclearactivities, nuclear war will break out.
Castro also criticized his own actions during the 1962Cuban Missile Crisis when he urged the Soviet Union to launchnuclear weapons against the United States, telling Goldberg "itwasn't worth it at all."
During their visit, Goldberg and Sweig went with Castro, athis invitation, to see a dolphin show at Cuba's NationalAquarium in Havana.
They were accompanied by local Jewish leader Adela Dworin,who Castro kissed in front of the cameras in a possible messageto Iranian leaders, Goldberg said in his Wednesday blog.
Goldberg described Castro as physically frail, butenergetic and mentally acute. (Editing by Mohammad Zargham)