Joel Whitney at Al Jazeera:

ScreenHunter_594 Apr. 20 09.44Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 1967 novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude” is hailed as a masterpiece and harbinger of the literary genre, magical realism, a style of writing that influenced everyone from Isabel Allende to Salman Rushdie to Toni Morrison. With more than 30 million copies sold, the book is second only to Cervantes’s “Don Quixote” among Spanish-language novels. And Cervantes had, as one writer noted, a “four-century head start.”

But hours after the Nobel laureate died Thursday, the Cold War debate over his friendship with Cuba’s iconic revolutionary and former President Fidel Castro was rehashed as the singular stain on his otherwise glorious literary legacy.

While Castro’s revolution in its early days inspired admiration from the global left, his movement quickly became characterized by acts of repression and censorship. For the past four decades, Garcia Marquez had been criticized for maintaining his support even after Castro blessed the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, with obituaries this week calling that support “scandalous” and a defense of “the indefensible.”

But the nuance of Garcia Marquez’s position was such that while he refused to break definitively with Castro, he never stopped criticizing Castro’s revolution, and even softened some of Castro’s roughest edges at a time when the Cuban leader was constantly under attack from the north.

More here.