CASTRO'S COMPROMISES

IN A CANDID CONVERSATION, A DEFIANT REVOLUTIONARY EXPLAINS HOW HE IS FACING UP TO SOCIALISM'S FAILURES

As the failure of its economy forces Cuba to reinvent itself, Fidel Castro has stayed largely in the background, leaving it to other officials to explain and defend the changes sweeping his country. But two weeks ago, he invited a delegation from TIME to dinner for a rare three-hour conversation that gave him an opportunity to define the compromises he is making: to expound, argue, and marshal the evidence in support of a reform process some Cubans fear is changing Cuba too much and others charge is not changing the country nearly enough.

TIME: Can you reflect on the strange love-hate...

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