Bronx, NY – If the Miami Marlins wanted to get more attention and publicity to go in line with their new $515 million dollar stadium, new logo, and new superstars like José Reyes it could not have been done better than this. Ozzie Guillen, their new manager, the man that does not know how to bite his tongue has done it again. This time he gave the Miami Cuban community who is vehemently anti the Cuban island a fastball to hit out of the park.
Everyone who knows anything about politics in South Florida knows that you can’t be a public figure and say anything that does not tow the anti-Castro/Cuban line, or your dead fish. Ozzie Guillen told a Time magazine reporter, “I love Fidel Castro” and “I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that [expletive] is still here.” That is Ozzie being Ozzie. Ask the numerous people, groups, organizations, and players that he has offended while in Chicago. My favorite was when he said: “Our Fans (Chicago White Sox) are not stupid like the Cub fans.” To his credit, when he knows he was wrong he would apologize and if he felt he was not he won’t. That is Ozzie Guillen.
Ozzie who has lived in Florida for a good many years should have known better. If he would have gotten to know the grassroots Cuban community he might have seen a community that is blinded on the issue of Cuba. What other community do you know that will go as far as to want their people in their home country to suffer just because they disagree with the government of their country? That is exactly what you have when the strongest opposition against ending a blockade that has done nothing to weaken the government, but everything to make their country folk suffer is spearheaded by the very Cubans who are criticizing Ozzie Guillen.
Puerto Ricans don’t think of who’s in power when we are asked to make donations to help our island when a Hurricane, or other natural disaster hits? While in Puerto Rico party officials would go out of their way to fire someone not from the same party, those of us in on the mainland don’t care if the government is Pro-Statehood, Pro-Independence, or for remaining a Commonwealth, we all just want to help the island and relieve suffering. Same with countless of other exiles that had run away from their countries for economic, or political reasons like South Koreans, Haitians, Vietnamese and many others who have had to flee dictatorships, or countries for political reasons. I never heard any of these exiles say, “don’t send any food, or medicines to my country” like we have heard some of these Miami Cuban’s say about Cuba
I can’t help to think back to the 1970’s when I first heard of how far these folks would go to block anything to improve relations, or to have a different thought about the island nation. Back then two young Cubans, one being a friend of mine were at the forefront of starting a small company to begin flights back to Cuba to allow Cuban families to reconnect. They were working hard to make these legal trips. I remember my friend Mandy sharing his excitement with others and me who knew him. Mandy and his partner worked hard on that project doing what they had to do to get all the necessary paperwork done from the State Department and all the other government agencies. He also spoke about the many criticisms and threats they received. The many warnings not to continue, however, they were determined because being Cuban themselves they represented a large sector that did want to visit Cuba and re-connect with the families. Unfortunately, this growing sector had to be mainly underground for fear of reprisals from the pitchfork crowds that are ready to stamp out anything that is not anti-Cuban government.
Mandy and his crew finally prevailed and opened an office in Miami. Soon the list of travelers wanting to visit their island was growing so fast that it was beginning to become an embarrassment to those promoting the solid anti-Cuban government line. The pitchforks were thrown and so was a bomb that destroyed their new office and killed one of the young men. It was a devastating blow to many young people that could not believe that these folks would go so far as to use such blind violence against their own youth. However, to Mandy’s credit that did not stop the movement to visit Cuba and today Marazul Tours is a premier travel agency to the island.
What about the number of Puerto Rican artist like Andy Montañez, Danny Rivera, Lucesita Benitez (to name a few) who were all victims of the Cuban “can’t say anything positive about Cuba campaign” as they were all blacklisted from Miami radio stations and from performing in Miami’s Calle Ocho Music festival and from Miami clubs, or concerts for either visiting Cuba, or saying something positive about the island.
I mean these folks went to the extreme like in the case of Andy Montañez who was criticized and blacklisted simply for hugging world re-known Cuban composer and singer, Pablo Milanes in a New York Concert.
Ozzie Guillen should have surely remembered what happened in 2000 when a young boy by the name of Elian González was picked up on a floating tire barely alive off the cost of South Florida. His estranged mother and her con-artist boyfriend illegally took the child out of Cuba when the boat capsized drowning everyone except Elian. They literally kidnapped this child from the legitimate custodial father. We all know the rest of the story since it became an international political incident. In practically any country on earth this would have been a no-brainer, you return the child to the legitimate parent, in this case the father and his grandparents in Cuba, however that was not the case. Though the child had no immediate family members here in the US, Elian became the new poster child for the same Miami political machine that is on call to bury anyone that does not tow the anti Cuban island line. The same group that wants to burn poor Ozzie on the stake.
I’m not defending Ozzie Guillen, or defending any political cause. I just want to make it clear that Ozzie does not know anything except baseball; to try to burn him to the stake for his comments outside of baseball is like trying to burn the poor village idiot for comments that do not make any sense. I would respect these critics of Ozzie Guillen more if they would have said one word against Major League Baseballs decision to play its 2011 All Star Game in Arizona a state that blatantly introduced a bill to discriminate and harass Latinos. I would have respected them so much more if they would have said anything about the Arizona’s education department discontinuing Mexican American studies in a state that was once Mexico.
Let’s all stick to baseball where it’s much simpler, three strikes and your out!