Last week, there was a bit of a kerfuffle on the international Interwebs about Fidel Castro's statement to me that the "Cuban model" doesn't even work for Cuba anymore. Fidel himself said, in speech last Friday, that I had misinterpreted his statement, that it was American-style capitalism, and not Cuban-style socialism, that was failing. This week, the Cuban government announced that it would be laying off half--a-million public sector workers:

The mass layoffs will take place between now and the end of March, according to a statement issued Monday by the Cuban Workers Federation, the island nation's only official labor union. Workers will be encouraged to find jobs in Cuba's tiny private sector instead.

"Our state can't keep maintaining ... bloated payrolls," the union's statement said. More than 85% of Cuba's 5.5 million workers are employed by the state.