Honestly, when I heard Ozzie Guillen’s most recent comments I thought about a few things:
1. It’s just Ozzie being Ozzie. He’s just stirring the pot, being controversial and trying to put himself in the limelight like he’s done so many times in his managerial career.
Guillen has a way of being brash and bombastful that’s both entertaining and head scratching. His ESPN:60 interview is still one of my favorites for his constant f bomb dropping and extreme ness for keeping it real.
That’s how Ozzie is. He never had and I thought never would slow his roll. He was as honest as they came in every sense.
2. The subject of Fidel Castro was one I never could grasp being an American from up north.
I knew about the Cuban Missile Crisis, his role of absolute power as a Cuban dictator and the fact that he wasn’t very well liked. I never quite understood why but in my head it was etched that Americans don’t like Castro and since that’s what I’m told than neither do I.
3. I factored all of this in my head when I heard Ozzie say that he loved and respected Castro in and interview with Time Magazine recently.
At first was the normal Ozzie being Ozzie reaction. “so what?”, I thought, “he has a different opinion of Castro big deal.”
I don’t like the guy (again not fully understanding who Castro was) but he’s entitled to an opinion.
However, it is a big deal, especially in South Florida where the Cuban population is larger than in any sector of the United States.
Being from the northern part of the states you don’t get the same vibe of Cuban culture that you do in Florida. Things like Castro are a huge deal down in Miami because so many people fled Cuba to be rid of the horrors and terror that ran wild in the Castro era.
To hear stories and read about them online in recent days gave me a new light on just how much of a terror Castro was.
Dan LeBatard of the Miami Herald (who is also Cuban-American) referred to Castro as the Cuban version of Adolf Hitler. To learn about a group of women in Miami called “The Women In White” who are wives of political prisoners in Cuba who were tortured and killed was eye opening.
For the people of South Florida who fled Cuba to find a peace of mind and freedom in the United States the subject of Castro is spine tingling and frightening to even think about.
To imagine the kinds of things that they witnessed were akin to the holocaust in a sense. While Castro wasn’t trying to kill off an entire race he was doing just as much damage in oppressing a culture.
Which brings me back to Guillen.
To understand the gut-wrenching and mind-numbing feeling of the crimes committed by Castro, then you could never love or respect a person who would even think of committing these acts.
Especially when you’re are the manager of a team that sits right in the heart of Little Havana in Miami and the fan base that you have targeted mostly is that of Latin decent.
Ozzie Guillen crossed a line. He was his normal bombastful self but was inconsiderate of the feelings of the people that he has lives around for the last decade of his life.
Guillen is a resident of Miami, he’s loved by the Latin community and was hired by the Marlins to be part of a driving force to bring more fans, Latin and otherwise to the new Marlins Park.
Guillen should’ve known better than to say what he said regarding Castro, not just for them but for the sake of his own Venezuelan people as well.
Castro was an ally of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez who is just as hated by the Venezuelan people and who Guillen has denounced before publicly.
If you aren’t a fan of Chavez then how can you respect one of his allies?
In his televised news conference I saw a different version of Ozzie Guillen. He was embarrassed, nervous, on edge, at the mercy of reporters and at times he looked like he didn’t want to be there. It was Ozzie on the hot seat, he spoke about being stupid, being misinterpreted but most of all he expressed embarrassment and shame.
He was shameful for letting down his team, his fans and most importantly his community for seemingly siding with one of the world’s most haneous leaders that did damage to many of the people that Guillen sees and talks to on a daily basis.
Guillen said he would do everything in his power to make things right within his community and he should.
After the last few days he’s learned how much his words can hurt a community and a culture, he may have finally learned that he doesn’t have to speak up on everything that crosses his mind and he taught me something.
As much as sports rule my daily life you have to be aware of everything.
I hated Fidel Castro but now there are reasons as to why.
I know his methods of madness, his atrocities committed and it’s affect on the people of Cuba.
I know that he and Hitler are equals in the eyes of Latin Americans and his impact should never be taken lightly especially to those that know it first hand.
Ozzie Guillen understands that just as much as I do now.