US media early on Saturday headlined the death of the country’s long time rival Fidel Castro, updating websites over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and devoting major coverage to the Cuban revolutionary.
The New York Times described Castro , who died late Friday in Havana, as the man who “bedeviled 11 American presidents and briefly pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war.”
Castro “became a towering international figure whose importance in the 20th century far exceeded what might have been expected from the head of state of a Caribbean island nation of 11 million people,” the paper wrote.
The Washington Post described Castro as “a spiritual beacon to the world’s far left,” and although he was “beloved by a legion of followers, his detractors saw him as a repressive leader who turned Cuba into a de facto gulag.”
“With his trademark fatigues and scruffy beard,” the Los Angeles Times wrote , “Castro wore his defiance of Western capitalism like a badge of honor, keeping communism alive in the Western Hemisphere two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union.”
For the Miami Herald, Castro was “a shaggy-bearded figure in combat fatigues whose long shadow spread across Latin America and the world,” and wondered if history will absolve him - as the leftist icon once defiantly claimed -- or if he will be vilified.
Peter Schechter, a Cuba expert at the Atlantic Council think tank, believes that the rapprochement that began in 2014 between the United States under Barack Obama and Cuba under Raul Castro “would not have happened ... with Fidel in the government.”
And nevertheless “Fidel clearly let his brother do it,” he told AFP early Saturday.