The Guardian view on Fidel Castro: man of history | Editorial | World news | The Guardian
ecovering the figure of Fidel Castro from the legacy of the failures of communism, his own chequered reputation, the hours-long flights of rhetorical bombast and hipster beard is no easy task. One should situate him in the political and intellectual setting of 20th-century Latin American anti-colonialism rather than seeing him through the eyes of the 21st century. Castro’s passing sees the departure of one of the giants of the cold war era and a revolutionary guerilla leader. He must be judged by the conditions that made him possible, but not indulged by them. He emerged victorious in a battle against a brutal and corrupt US-friendly regime at a time when democracy had yet to reach most of the Caribbean or indeed what we now know of as the developing world. Although his brother Raul assumed presidential powers in 2006 before getting the official title in 2008, modern-day Cuba was built by Fidel Castro. The early years saw him embrace faraway Soviet Union and reject the United States next door, expropriating American assets in the name of his revolution. Castro’s alliance with Moscow brought the world to the brink of nuclear war in 1962. Yet he survived – and thrived on – the brinkmanship, even if the world very nearly did not.