How Ozzie Guillen May Have Ruined His Relationship With Miami With Just One Sentence
Frances Martel 12:38 pm, April 09th, 2012
In an upcoming issue of Time magazine, Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen is reportedly quoted as saying, "I love Fidel Castro."
The comments have caused an uproar in Miami's large Cuban-American population, with a group of demonstrators announcing that they plan to boycott the Marlins until Guillen is fired. Guillen has apologized -- something he never does -- and plans to return to Miami on Tuesday to again explain his comments. It would seem that Guillen, who was brought to Miami in part to rally its Spanish-speaking fanbase, has irrevocably alienated a very large portion of it.
How did Miami's relationship with Guillen fall apart with just one sentence? We asked Mediaite Editor (and Cuban-American) Frances Martel to explain what Ozzie Guillen is saying when he says he loves Fidel Castro.
I think what he said is completely out of line, disgusting and hurtful.
He thinks he is joking around about a harmless bearded old guy, but in that community he is evoking the executions and disappearances of thousands of people's parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends; he is forcing the pretty large former political prisoner population to relive what they suffered for having an inconvenient opinion. I don't think it's ever appropriate to use the word "admire" for someone who sent thousands of LGBT people, poets, writers and, yes, baseball players before a firing squad for "counterrevolutionary activity," or someone who arrested men for having long hair and used a proxy war in Angola to essentially exile young and potentially counterrevolutionary youth.
It is also really unsettling how dismissive the media has been about this simply because the Miami Cuban population has a reputation for being loud and a little wacky. There is a very profound psychological wound in the Cuban-American community based on an experience that no American can really understand-- having the government take away everything you own, many being forced into years of agricultural labor for saying something inappropriately positive about America-- and I do think there's a general lack of respect for it in our country compared to the way we treat the victims of Stalin or Hitler or Mao or any other dictator. The outrage against John Galliano comes to mind.
Guillen can probably come back from it because Americans in general don't really care about Fidel Castro, and there is a contingent that will find his "trolling" amusing. He happened to pick a convenient dictator to praise. That said, I don't think anyone that speaks this way about someone so antithetical to American morality should have a place in the public eye.
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