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A “very embarrassed” Ozzie Guillen apologizes for “betraying the Latin community”

Apr 10, 2012, 11:02 AM EDT

Ozzie Guillen Presser

Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, minutes after his five-game suspension was handed down, faced the media and the music in the wake of his comments about Fidel Castro.

Guillen began the press conference speaking in Spanish, clearly aware of the audience most critical of his comments.  His eyes were red, and on occasion watery. He choked up while speaking. He looks like a man who hasn’t slept well.

The following summary of his comments come courtesy of Bob Nightengale of USA Today who translated Guillen’s comments and tweeted them:

He said he was sorry he hurt the city and the community. He said it was not intentional but that he did it and that he would like to apologize. He said he felt like he “betrayed the Latin community” and that he was there to say he was sorry with his “heart in his hands.”  he says he is embarrassed and that the past few days have been hard on him and his family. He said he’s “I’m here on my knees apologizing to all communities.”

When asked if he really loves Fidel Castro, he said that his answer was misinterpreted when he spoke to Time magazine. He says he meant to say that he was surprised that Castro stayed in power so long, not that he loved or respected him for it.

When asked if his suspension was fair, he said “I can’t control that,” and that he respects the situation and can’t complain about it because he’s not in any position to complain.  He said that he was sad he couldn’t be with the team right now, because the team is playing well.

When asked if he could repair relations with the Cuban community in Miami, he said “I am willing to do everything in my power to help the community,” and that he planned on being in Miami for a long time. He later added that this was not a one-moment-in-time kind of apology. He would not forget it, and that he would show through his actions that he is sincerely sorry.

He later said “I let the ballclub down.” He said he was hired to manage, not talk about politics. He will address his team in Philadelphia tomorrow prior to his suspension kicking in.

*Screen capture of Guillen from WSVN, Channel 7, Miami’s live stream of the press conference.

134 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Mark Armour - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    Ozzie, God love him, has essentially no filter controlling what comes out of his mouth. Not surprisingly, he said something stupid. However, I think he is a good man who is no threat to the Cuban community or anyone else. Hopefully, the people of Miami will let it go now.

    • Jonny 5 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:06 PM

      This punishment reminds me of a dog owner kicking his dog for licking it’s balls. Ozzie just can’t help it, his mouth acts before his brain. It’s who he is.

      • Old Gator - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:59 PM

        My wife would kick me too if she caught me licking mine.

    • thrstr - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:15 PM

      come on people, dude was just admiring Castro’s longevity, not his politics.
      If you want to get pissed at someone for praising Castro, look to Michael Moore, or do I dare say it, el presidente . . .

      • Old Gator - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:00 AM

        You can dare say it, so that rather suspecting that you’re an idiot, we’ll know it for sure.

  2. teedraper - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Why are the people who fled Castro’s regime for the freedom of America chiding a man over his freedom of speech?

    This whole thing is just dumb!

    • dlindstedt2 - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:22 AM

      Exactly, and the media getting on his case as well. I am sorry, but the people that cherish their 1st amendment rights the most, harping on a guy for what he believes in, is complete garbage. Just sad.

      • philc2424 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:03 PM

        1st amendment protections pertain the government suppressing speech, not EMPLOYERS. Employers, too, have rights. Ozzie can SAY what he wishes, he just won’t be saying it as an employee of the Marlins.

      • dlindstedt2 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:18 PM

        Phil, that is all fine and dandy, but the Marlins hired him, and knew exactly what he was.

        Look at his track record. They shouldn’t be surprised by this, and if they truly are, they should be ashamed of themselves. It was going to happen, it was just a matter of time.

      • comeonnowguys - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:16 PM

        The employers were going to let it go.

        It’s the community that doesn’t believe in context or critical thinking, and the employers buckled like the sad sacks they are.

    • dohpey28 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:02 PM

      What if he had said he loved Hitler in a large Jewish community? There are just some things you have to be smart enough and compassionate enough not to say.

      I will however defend his right to say them until my last breath, however there can be repercussions to things you say and now Ozzie has to deal with them.

      • spudchukar - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:06 PM

        Stop equating Hitler and Castro! That is Dopey, Dohpey.

      • dohpey28 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:18 PM

        Well how about it you said you love Ratko Mladić in a highly populated Croation area?

      • spudchukar - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:53 PM

        Another false equivalency.

      • dohpey28 - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:00 PM

        not to Cubans in Miami it’s not.

    • CJ - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      can we get something straight here?

      Freedom of speech gives you the right to speak your mind, even if you are an idiot, without getting shot or going to prison or anything.

      Freedom of speech, however, does not infringe on your employer’s right to realize you’re being an idiot has impacted your ability to do the job you were hired to do and punish you for it as a result (terminate, suspend, fine, etc.).

      Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want and never have to take responsibility for it, that was never the intent and it’ll never happen. But that’s ok, as there is a lesson here for us all: be an idiot at your own risk.

      • philc2424 - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:33 PM

        Well stated CJ.

      • frankblank1 - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:29 PM

        Yes, indeedy. To paraphrase MacBeth: the company has all rights that may become a man, he who wants more is none.

    • southbeachtalent - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      Go tell your boss he’s an a-hole. Check back in tomorrow and let me know how that went.

      • spudchukar - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:58 PM

        It would be great, and more people should do just that, assuming of course it is justified, and realize other opportunities will be needed to be explored.

      • comeonnowguys - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:17 PM

        Except he said not word 1 to his boss. That analogy doesn’t hold up.

      • nagaswan - Apr 10, 2012 at 6:59 PM

        comeonnow- so freedom of speech applies at all times, except when talking to your boss?

    • sabatimus - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:11 PM

      I’m so tired of this erroneous application of the 1st Amendment. Please read it again.

  3. dondada10 - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Ozzie started off so sincere, but then started transitioning into this message that his words were skewed in translation when he said he “admired” Castro.

    Just own it, Ozzie. Don’t try to salvage face just yet.

  4. bobdira - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Hope this is the end of it and we can let Ozzie be Ozzie.

    • Gordon - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:15 PM

      I fear this is only the beginning. That seems to be the way things go nowadays. Pretty depressing.

  5. nflfollower - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    Free speech can be offensive at times. He wasn’t inciting violence, nor were his words encouraging others to behave in an illegal manner that would be dangerous to the public. Therefore it is protected speech. I get it, lots of people hate Castro with good reason, but what is happening to our freedom?

    • Mark Armour - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:23 AM

      Freedom of speech will keep you from getting arrested by the government or being sent to jail. It has nothing to do with whether Ozzie can or should be publicly trashed by his fellow man or suspended by his employers. My boss can shit can me for saying I don’t like this tie, and this has been true since our country was founded.

      • nesportsfan0428 - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:57 AM

        While that may be true, thats not what’s happening here. This is a case of a few lines in a magazine snowballing into something much larger than it ever should have been, to a point where the context of the original statement is completely lost and forgotten.

        So what started as “I respect Castro for staying in power for so long” has now become “Ozzie hates all Cubans, Freedom, and America” and people feelng good about taking down the new “enemy” that is Ozzie Guillen.

        Ozzie Guillen isn’t an enemy of America or anyone (Other than opposing teams or people fans of “G” rated speach) . You want to fight America’s enemies, join the military.

      • madhatternalice - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:14 PM

        Really? What kind of job do you have where your boss can fire you for talking about his wardrobe? You need a better job, if that’s the case.

      • CJ - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:31 PM

        nesports I totally agree. But then can we agree to stop calling this a “freedom of speech issue”? Please? Because any way you slice it, it isn’t.

        And to those who are on here asking what is happening to our “freedom”…let me help you:

        What’s happening to our freedom is you are misunderstanding and representing it. If you don’t even understand what freedom of speech is, then I’m terrified to think what other freedoms you either misunderstand or don’t even know of. And I hope to God that stops soon, because if it doesn’t there will be a day that someone will legitmately infringe on our freedoms and we won’t even notice, becuase right now most Americans don’t even know what they are. And as a result, we won’t be able to stop it.

      • ptfu - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:32 PM

        What kind of job does Mark Armour have? An American job. Most of us are subject to “at-will” employment, and I’ll bet Ozzie is too. Managers get fired without comment every year, and so do people who inadvertently piss off their bosses and/or customers.

        In a totally unrelated statement, I’d like to point out that my boss is the greatest, most brilliant person in the history of the universe. I 150% agree with 150% of his decisions. Yes sir, good idea, right away!

      • Mark Armour - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:35 PM

        I was merely trying to explain to some of you what Freedom of Speech actually is. My daughter uses the Freedom of Speech defense a lot as well, but she is 13 and I just laugh it off. Like 99% of employees in the US, I can be terminated by my boss for saying something that he or she believes is stupid or reflects poorly or the company. If I claim Freedom of Speech, I will be deservedly laughed at.

        I wrote the first comment on this article, and said I thought the people of Miami should move on. However, this has ZERO to do with Guillen’s freedom of speech.

    • pattyo27 - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      You wrote exactly what I had planned to write. I despise Rush Limbaugh. But, the sad truth is, if violence isn’t being suggested, what we say is protected. We need to be very careful of what we want; one day you could say something that gets you into trouble, and shouldn’t. Freedom on speech is an asset valued by a democratic people. If we start tweking the rules, one day it WILL come back and bite us. Be careful what you wish for, people. Think ahead…not in the moment.

  6. aceshigh11 - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Holy shit, I can’t believe what a big deal is being made over this.

    While we’re at, can we force Luke “the poor man’s Wolverine” Scott to apologize for his birther tirades?

    Oh, I forgot…IOIYAR.

    • pjmitch - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      For those of us who aren’t “hip”, what does IOIYAR mean?

      • madhatternalice - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:16 PM

        Aces is trying to bring current politics into it. Just ignore him/her.

        IOIYAR: It’s OK If You’re A Republican

      • aceshigh11 - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:00 PM

        “It’s okay if you’re a Republican.”

        matterhatter:

        This IS current politics. The right-wing Cuban community in Miami is out for blood.

        Now, if MLB can force Guillen to apologize over a stupid comment made about a feeble, near-dead, irrelevant dictator, why shouldn’t Scott apologize for his equally-offensive birther comments?

        I’m sure there are far more people in America who find birtherism more offensive than what Guillen said.

  7. kage10 - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    I don’t even think he said anything offensive. Basically he was saying that he respects someone so hated but yet stays in power so long. I gues though if you are a product of the man’s (Castro’s) oppression, it’s just not funny, no matter what. I think they are making a bigger deal out of it than it should have been. Ozzie is a baseball manager. It’s not like it’s a big deal. Let him go coach. It’s what he does…go Ozzie.

    • southbeachtalent - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:58 PM

      Are you Cuban? Were you affected by Castro? Of course it wouldn’t be offensive to you, you are ignorant to the facts.

      How would it go if Ozzie went to ground zero and said, geesh I admire this Bin Laden guy he has evaded capture for so long! That’s how stupid it was. He is and always will be a dim wit.

      • Old Gator - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:03 AM

        Aside from the gales of laughter he’d bring down on himself for not knowing that Bin Laden was already dead, all of us who knew he was a dimwit would have just shrugged, nothing having changed.

        The difference is that Castro is still alive, doing damage, ruining lives. Slobbering Ozzie is catching it for tearing off the scabs again.

  8. bchapman2011 - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    Ahhh Ozzie is pullnig the classic second language defense. He says he is very sorry and that his words in spanish were misinterpreted. Which one is it Ozzie? It cant be both. Either you screwed up and said the wrong things intentionally or you were misinterpreted. Considering you are fluent in both languages I have a hard time believing your defense.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:50 AM

      Did we read the same post? I don’t see what it is you’re claiming Ozzie said.

      • bchapman2011 - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:53 AM

        I listened to the entire press conference. He said his words in spanish were misinterpreted by the reporter.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:59 AM

        I still think that’s plausible. Misinterpretation can mean taking things out of context. This happens quite a bit to people who speak fast, putting the cart before the horse.

      • bchapman2011 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:02 PM

        Yeah you probably believed Sammy Sosa when he had to use an interpreter in front of Congress despite speaking english quite well

      • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:11 PM

        Actually, Chap, I have my own prejudices against people who like to use language as an excuse to call others Stupid or Subversive. I wasn’t being naive, but rather polite.

        At the end of the day, nothing you say about this really matters to me.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:06 PM

        Yeah you probably believed Sammy Sosa when he had to use an interpreter in front of Congress despite speaking english quite well

        False equivalence as well. Speak any foreign language, even just a bit? I’m pretty fluent in italian, but if I were the male version of Amanda Knox in front of the Italian judiciary on trial for my life, I’d claim ignorance of italian as well and only speak in English. Sosa was testifying in front of Congress. No way you’d want to deal with a “lost in translation” issue there.

  9. xpensivewinos - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    It is odd that those who are most angry are the ones who usually speak the loudest about freedom of speech, but I think people are really more upset about what he said and where he said it……….not so much questioning his right to say it.

    There is also the pragmatic issue of business for the Marlins. Five games in to their season, Guillen has pretty much destroyed all the good will and excitement he was supposed to bring to Miami in conjunction with their new ballpark. They made a very strategic hire when they brought him in and it blew up in their face in record time. If he’s now a pariah as the “face of the organization,” he needs to go because he’s bad for business. That’s the issue the Marlins face right now.

    • b7p19 - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      I initially agreed with you about needing to get rid of a “pariah” as the “face of the organization.” But then I started thinking about how often people become even more popular once they screw up and lay themselves at the mercy of the community. Redemtion can be a powerful thing. I say stick with him, and as long as he stays humble on the issue Miami may learn to love him even more than they did before.

  10. citizenkane9 - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Let’s go over hisory here. Castro toppled the regime of Fulgencio Batista, who was a dictator. Under his regime, many peasant Cuban’s lived in a life of misery and many were imprisoned and killed. Castro, with a small band of revolutionaires, took over the government and for that he should be praised. A large majority of Cuban’s, who “fled” were the aristocratic members of society, who benefited from Batista. The reason there is so much hatred for Castro, in this country and the reason the blockade is still in effect is that Castro used the Soviet Union as a pawn to promote his agenda. His agenda came from the hatred of most Cubans for the United States because of their involvemnt in the Spanish American War. The Cuban’s had a history of wars with Spain, for which they lost and finally, at the end of the 19th century they were winning their latest war with Spain, via attrition. At this point President McKinley decided that the United States should get involved because, at the time, sugar was an important commodity. After the war, the United States decided to take control and signed the Platt Amendment, which said that Cuba could be an independent country, in name only and that they could not refine their own sugar, borrow money from any other country, except ours and they could not allow any other country to have a military base in Cuba. Because of the fact that Cuba had all of this sugar, and that most of the money went to the United States were it was refined Cuba saw little profit. Castro was born in 1926 and most of his generation had a deep hatred for our country. This was evident during the Bay of Pigs, when the assumption was that the people would welcome the soldiers with open arms and aid in the invasion. Of course, this did not happen and Presiden Kennedy cancelled the air strike that was planned and the soldiers were captured. It was an embarrasment for this country and a victory for Castro. Anyway, the fact of the matter is that Cuba, a tiny island has held the United States at bay for over 50 years and the “Batista” Cubans have been fighting him ever since. Now, Catro did become a ruthless dicator over time, but the fact of the matter is that today, most of Cuba’s population is literate and they all have health care. What Ozzie said would only offend “Batista” Cuban’s, who in my opinion, are as hypocritical as anyone who speaks the word freedom with one side of the mouth and who want to suppress that freedom with the other side. Where I come from, there is a saying about “Batista” Cuban’s, we call them come mierdas.

    • b7p19 - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      Wow. I read that whole thing. Bravo on keeping my attention. Not being an expert on Cuba, I’ll assume your facts are right and your tone is just one side of the story.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:55 AM

      I thought the embargo was put into effect because Castro rejected the notion of having American casinos on their shoreline?

      • citizenkane9 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:07 PM

        The embargo was due to the fact that Castro and Cuba were getting aid from the Soviet Union, via money and oil. The United States were nervous about The Soviet Union having influence on an island that was 90 miles away. Anyway, the Platt amendment was an extension of the Monroe Doctrine, which prohibited any other nation from having influence in our hemisphere. The Bay of Pigs was intended to topple Catro, but it failed miseribly and because of the fact that Kennedy did not send in an air strike, “Batista” Cubans have moved away from the Democratic Party and they are Solid Republicans today, because Republicans have wanted to take Catro out. The reason Castro and Cuba has never been invaded is that when Kennedy made his deal with the Soviet Union to have them remove the nuclear missles from Cuba during the Cuban Missle Crisis, one of the provisions was that the United States would never invade Cuba. This and only this has caused the United States to spin the anti Catro message. Don’t get me wrong, Catro is a brutal dictator, but in the beginning he was a great man and great leader for what he did. He just got drunk with power as time went by and especially after the Soviet Union took away their aid. By the way, Ozzie is wrong when he says that he offended Latin Americans. Most Latin Americans don’t hate Fidel Castro, only “Batista” Cubans do. Most Latin American’s are Democrats and most Cubans, in Florida are Republicans.

      • Francisco (FC) - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:52 PM

        Speak for yourself, many non-Batista Cubans hate him, and there are plenty of Latin Americans who hate him for intervening in their countries for the last four decades. Many Venezuelans hate him for the extraordinary influence he exercises in Venezuela basically converting it into Cuban Colony.

      • spudchukar - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:56 PM

        Venezuela a Cuban colony? Now that is a generalization, and a horribly inaccurate one, at that.

      • Francisco (FC) - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:17 PM

        Not at all inaccurate. First of all Venezuela sends more than 100.000 barrels of oil a day to Cuba in exchange for… er… Doctors? Sports Trainers? (Cuba, BTW resells most of this crude oil and makes a tidy profit).

        The Cuban security apparatus is well entrenched in the government administration, which already has been militarized at most levels. And the Head of State regularly signs special decrees and laws from Havana, as he visits more and more frequently there.

        More than once high level security “advisors” traveled from Cuba go to Caracas and “assess” Venezuelan resources and the status in general on many affairs. Basically Castro found a nice oil teat to suck on and he’s not about to lose his grip on it.

      • papito1421 - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:09 PM

        Francisco (CF) You are living in la-la-land. If they hate so much Fidel in Latin America, why do you think that for the last 20 years the governments in the region turned to the left? (Argentina, Brasil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile (until recently, Bastelet was elected for two terms), Bolivia, Nicaragua, etc.). I think that it is the other way around, they despise what the right did to those countries in the 70s with the complicity of you know who…

      • Francisco (FC) - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:21 PM

        As usual, painting the world in black and white leads to distortion. papito1421, Correlation does not imply causation. You can hate Fidel and be a leftist. My grandfather is leftist and does not care for the man.

        My disagreement is with the assertion that only “Batista” Cubans hate Fidel. That is very much untrue. Latin America is a complex social society with many viewpoints and political leanings. In the US alone you can find significant populations with very different philosophical leanings. Why do you assume Latin America isn’t the same?

        Many people in Latin America love Fidel, many people hate him. In fact many Chileans hated Pinochet, many others Loved him. That absolutely has nothing to do with the governments being elected and their political leanings. As you pointed out Chile recently voted in a conservative government. What, does that mean all people in Chile now HATE Castro? Also elections are hardly one sided affairs, the majority always shifts. You will have 60-40 results, 55-45 results, etc. It doesn’t mean people of a certain political stripe cease to exist once a government with an opposite political leaning is elected into power.

        The governments being shifted have far more to do with their incompetence and general inability to improve the lot of their electorate than anything specific the US has or hasn’t done in the last 20 years.

    • florida727 - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:57 AM

      Thank you, “citizen”. That was more helpful than any post I’ve read in years (no offense to others). Just shows my own ignorance. I knew none of the history that you shared. Thanks again for educating me.

      • koreanfandeath - Apr 10, 2012 at 8:14 PM

        It’s weird that I’m finding this Cuba/Latin America discussion a lot more interesting than anything baseball related on the site today.

    • Francisco (FC) - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      So the fine folk who fled in the 90s didn’t get the memo till then that Batista was no longer in charge? What a way to generalize the cuban ex-pat community…

      • citizenkane9 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:14 PM

        The Cubans who fled in the 80’s were not affected by the Batista regime. They were people allowed to leave by Castro. By the way, for years the rumors were that Castro emptied out his prisons during that period.

    • boballende - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:09 PM

      citizenkane9, you are correct. Well done.

    • marinersnate - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:48 PM

      “Now, Catro did become a ruthless dicator over time, but the fact of the matter is that today, most of Cuba’s population is literate and they all have health care.”

      Oh, I see. It is ok for an entire population to be repressed by a brutal dictator so long as you have health care. Got ya.

      • citizenkane9 - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:08 PM

        The reason the citizens of Cuba are living the way they are is because of the Embargo. Do you know how much money Cuba would make if they were allowed to sell their cigars? Yes, the rest of the world can buy and enjoy them, but the United States would be a huge market. Also, they could earn a lot of money from tourism. If you read my entire comment, you would see that I metioned Castro as a brutal dictator. It is funny how the people who have a negative comment on my blog only point out the parts that glorify Castro. My blog was fact based and two sided. Now, if you are capable of understanding an idea without emotion, let me say that the reason Catro has “oppressed” his people and has promoted his ideas is that he wanted to purge Cuba from the concept of being controlled by an empire. You have to know the history of the region. For 500 years, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other countries have lived under the thumb of European and United States power. The whole idea of being an independent nation is useless if you are under another nation’s control. The Spanish American War and the Platt Amendment can easily be looked up. To make a fair comparison, when the United States invaded Iraq, the assumption was that the people would welcome our soldiers with open arms. Just like during the planning of the Bay of Pigs, the United States failed to understand that Iraq was divided by three groups, the Shiites, the Sunnis and the Kurds. The only reason there was no civil war during Saddam’s regime is that he held control. It’s like the former Yugoslavia during the Soviet regime, which controlled the Bosnians, Croatians and Muslims. Now, before anyone goes and calls me a Saddam lover and Soviet lover, what I am stating is ideological. In Cuba, Castro, in his sick way, was trying to create a national identity, without the influence of the United States.

      • Francisco (FC) - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        “Now, if you are capable of understanding an idea without emotion, let me say that the reason Catro has “oppressed” his people and has promoted his ideas is that he wanted to purge Cuba from the concept of being controlled by an empire.”

        It would help your case if you didn’t use the word oppressed in quotes. He is a brutal dictator is he not? He has oppressed his people right? That’s a fact, why put it in quotes? In any case I found your line interesting because Castro can be easily accused of being as imperialist as his enemies. He has intervened in the affairs of many Latin American countries over the years seeking to topple or influence other governments. If he was anti-empire, he would stick to creating a successful comunist model in Cuba and not bother with the rest of the world. But you know this is not the case.

      • Francisco (FC) - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:40 PM

        “It’s like the former Yugoslavia during the Soviet regime, which controlled the Bosnians, Croatians and Muslims.”

        Do you mean Soviet as in USSR or Soviet as in “Tito’s Soviet”. Because Yugo was fiercely independent from the USSR. But your main point remains accurate regarding the strongman keeping the country united through force.

        “the United States failed to understand that Iraq was divided by three groups, the Shiites, the Sunnis and the Kurds.”

        Actually I think the government under Bush I understood it really well. For the longest time they supported Sadam as a bulwark against Iran and a presence that guaranteed regional stability. A big concern after the first Gulf War was that they not actually topple Sadam because it would have split the country, the Shiite and Kurd rebellions were noted and the US forces stood by doing nothing at the time.

      • scastro87 - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:53 PM

        “The reason the citizens of Cuba are living the way they are is because of the Embargo.” and “Catro has “oppressed” his people and has promoted his ideas is that he wanted to purge Cuba from the concept of being controlled by an empire”

        Utter and complete BS. Cuba was a client state/ beneficiary of the Soviet empire for 30 years and then has been propped up by Chavez and Venezuela (and a little by China) for the last decade. The rest of the world does not have an embargo against Cuba, does it?

        I’m sick of Castro apologists who say he only became a brutal and repressive dictator because the big bad United States made him. My grandfather knew him before the revolution and he was a communist then, and as we can see by all communist regimes that have existed, communism = totalitarian dictatorship.

    • indaburg - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      Thank you, Citizen. Your version of events is the same version taught to me by my Dominican parents. I took no offense with Ozzie’s omments.

    • scastro87 - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:48 PM

      Oh, so my family who supported Castro but then had their property stripped and had to flee, is it too bad for them? Outlawing private property, executing dissidents, and plunging an entire population into a poverty stricken prison is cool because Batista was bad? Castro was a totalitarian communist from the beginning (so was Che).

  11. koufaxmitzvah - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    I hope Miami accepts Ozzie’s apology sooner than San Antonio accepted Ozzy’s. I don’t think I can handle 30 more minutes of this, let alone 30 more years.

    • Old Gator - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:30 PM

      You don’t live here. Your skin thickens and you develop antigens.

  12. teedraper - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    It has nothing to do with whether Ozzie can or should be publicly trashed by his fellow man or suspended by his employers. My boss can shit can me for saying I don’t like this tie, and this has been true since our country was founded.
    ————————————————–

    This is the problem with this society.

    • b7p19 - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      I’d say that problem is WAAAAAYYYYY down the list.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:23 PM

        Either you don’t work at all or you are your own boss.

      • CJ - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:28 PM

        I’d guess neither. there’s a whole lot more screwed up with this world than what you can and can’t say to your boss. a little more perspective and a little less hyperbole would be appreciated.

    • acheron2112 - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:31 PM

      Freedom of association is in the first amendment too. You and your boss are free to associate or not. If you don’t want to be associated with him, you can quit, and if he doesn’t want to be associated with you, he can fire you.

  13. boballende - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Yikes! Whatever happened to free speech in America?

    Why are we letting corporations censor our opinions? The guy has an opinion and right or wrong, he should have the freedom to assert it whether he belongs to a major corporation or not.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:10 PM

      Yikes, what is wrong with people not knowing what the first amendment says?

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:24 PM

        Yikes Republicans and Democrats are different sides of the same coin!

      • boballende - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:20 PM

        Ah yes, another typical weak-minded reply. I am tired of cowards who seem to think that corporations can do whatever they want.

        I never asserted that baseball violated the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

        I implied that as long as corporations are doing business in America, we have the right to insist that these businesses follow our fundamental values which includes free speech.

  14. lvnwdablz - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    What ever happened to free speech?! Ozzie Guillen didn’t follow the “approved” unwritten script so he’s silenced. We might as well call the 1st. Amendment: “Freedom of Popular Speech”

    The reality is this: Ask the children and grandchildren of the previously disenfranchised what most lives were like under the US aligned, brutal, corrupt dictator Batista. Castro is far from perfect, but the lives of the Cuban masses are far better under Socialism and would be thriving if not for the over half a century of the US embargo. Cuban exiles hate Castro because they were largely among the tiny minority who benefited by having their “boots on the necks” of the masses. As to Guillen’s native country: Anyone from the majority “have-nots” in Venezuela will swear by Hugo Chavez simply because he is doing something to actually bring economic justice to the oppressed. Yet in the American corporate owned and controlled Main Stream Media he is demonized as a maniacal “thug”.

    • dohpey28 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:21 PM

      Once again, Freedom of Speech protects you from prosecution from the government. It does not protect you from being fired or other consequences from your employer.

    • Francisco (FC) - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      I find it funny how people forget that the US supported Castro evicting Batista, it wasn’t until after when it was clear he was establishing a communist regime that relations soured quickly.

      I agree on the trade embargo though: without it, communism as such would have eventually failed on its own. By providing a boogeyman Castro can blame it all on the US. You want to know who the #1 supporter of the embargo is? Castro, it allows him to keep his grip tight on the island.

      • papito1421 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:47 PM

        Don’t forget Canada, Spain, Mexico. As long as we don’t do business there, they can do theirs with no competition.

    • citizenkane9 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      In fact, Hugo Chavez wants to emulate the idea of a united group, such as the European Union, for South America, Central America and the island nations. This idea came from Che, who was Castro’s ideological partner. The whole idea of the European Union is to pool all of the resources of small European nations, in order to have a more united front in the dealings of the world. Seperately, each European nation would not have the clout to have their say in world matters, but together, they have more influence. It’s a great idea, except if anyone else wants to do it. The only flaw in the Chavez version is that he wants to be the leader of the group of nations. Considering that Brazil, Agentina and Venezuela have massive natural resources, the idea that they would unite with other nations is a threat to the status quo of US and European corporate and polical power. All of my facts can be checked and verified. Anyone who disputes them are only trying to promote anti Catro propoganda.

      • Francisco (FC) - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:56 PM

        Wow I like it how you automatically label anyone who disputes anything you say as promoting an anti-castro agenda. No room for middle ground? No gray area there? No possibility of being wrong there?

        Chavez these days is mostly concerned with staying in power at all costs. The time for creating or emulating a united group has long since passed. Nobody takes him seriously because even his allies have seen how badly he has mismanaged his country’s economy.

      • papito1421 - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:20 PM

        Citizen, the problem with that is that Chavez thinks that he can do what Bolivar tried unsuccessfully in the 1800s. When he tried to create an South American union and to call himself dictator for life. (By the way, he’s going to fail like Bolivar did…)

    • scastro87 - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:57 PM

      BS. A 50 year reign of poverty and oppression is not made up for by having ‘free’ healthcare or food ‘rations’

  15. makesonesick - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    So, the 50 year old U.S. imposed embargo hasn’t worked. Maybe if we punish Ozzie for his stupid comments made in a country that prides itself on free speech, the regime of the former dictator (and baseball player, I should add) will come tumbling down. The Cubans in Miami need to get over it. Batista was no saint and it is time to move on! Let them complain about Castro while they purchase everything made in China from Walmart – a government that violates the civil rights of more people in a year than Cuba will ever have as citizens.

  16. ningenito78 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    If Ozzie made those comments in Minnesota and not Little Havana it probably wouldn’t have been even news. Look at the big picture people. Sad sack whiners.

  17. wynams - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Given Ozzie Guillen’s history, I am not surprised the same people who thought it a good idea to bring Ali out in a golf cart (in front of millions on National TV) are shocked about the Castro stuff.

  18. xhosa17 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    People are actually thanking citizenkane for “educating” them? You have got to be kidding me. Read a book guys…stop getting fake history lessons from someone who prefers to gloss over 50 years of human rights abuses.

    This part gave me a chuckle: “but the fact of the matter is that today, most of Cuba’s population is literate and they all have health care.”

    Oh boy.

    • citizenkane9 - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      Look up “Platt Amendment”. Look up Cuban “Cuban Missle Crisis”. Look up “Bay of Pigs”. Look up “Monroe Doctrine”. I have a degree in Political Science and Sociology. What degree do you have?

      • Francisco (FC) - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:41 PM

        Look up: “Unidades Militares para la Ayuda de Producción”, Look up: “Special Period”. Look up “Black Spring”.

        You’re one of those armchair sociologists who talk about the greatness of socialism and yet live comfortably in 1st world countries. You don’t have the cojones to talk the talk and actually LIVE in the system you so deeply praise.

      • acheron2112 - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:32 PM

        LOL, a degree in sociology. No wonder.

      • gendisarray - Apr 10, 2012 at 5:10 PM

        I’m pretty my school’s football team all majored in sociology.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      What are you: one of them right wing NUTS who thinks health care and literacy are privileges? While all Conservatives aren’t stupid, all stupid people are….!

    • southbeachtalent - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:00 PM

      Yea literate and have excellent healthcare, that’s plain asinine. Clueless….

  19. slxc - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    He even apologized to Guatemala and I wonder? Guatemala has to do this. but well thanks for mentioning the country.

  20. slxc - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    He even apologized to Guatemala and I wonder? Guatemala has to do this. but well thanks for mentioning the country

  21. happster - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Suspend him all you want…he’s still going to be an idiot when he returns. Good luck living with what Chicago finally figured out when a cancer.

  22. opneon - Apr 10, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    These “Batista” Cubans of which you speak are not all aristocrats or your image of rich elites who fled Castro from fear. They were doctors and other professionals as well as land-owning farmers who lost their practice or land to a Communist regime. Many of them were well-educated or hardworking people who lost their possessions and position in order to make them pay their “fair-share” (sound familiar) to society. It always sounds so fair in the beginning, and just like you all admit, in the end the leader gets drunk on power. Everyone may be educated and get free halthcare…but are they individuals with freedom to make their own decisions or say what they want about their government? or are they lemmings. Nevertheless, Ozzie has the right to say what he wants, but his employer has the right to do what they did when their representative impacts their public image and finiancial status.

    • Francisco (FC) - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:03 PM

      Yeah that labeling is what strikes me as the most intellectually dishonest part of the entire “lecture”. It is an intentional distortion of the make up of the entire community of people that fled the island nation at one time or another in the last 50 years. Certainly there were rich people who fled, opportunists, collaborators who got rich with Batista and his cohorts, but also other hard-working professionals, some land owners, people who had no quarrel with Castro and initially celebrated his toppling of Batista. And eventually as conditions in the island deteriorated people started fleeing as the man cracked down on dissent. It’s a complex make-up. To simplify it as simply “Batista Cubans” is really doing a great disservice to the ex-pat community.

      • citizenkane9 - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:37 PM

        If you read my comments, “Batista” Cubans do not represent all Cubans. If I wanted to label people, I would have said Cubans and not “Batista” Cubans. My use of the word “Batista” Cuban is to represent most of the people who fled Cuba after Catro took over. These were the land owners, doctors, lawyers and anyone who benefited from Batista’s rule. If you cannot understand this, then get on line with the people who don’t want to hear another version of events.

      • Francisco (FC) - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:45 PM

        “These were the land owners, doctors, lawyers and anyone who benefited from Batista’s rule.”

        You’re doing it again. That’s a label and a generalization. Your characterization implies that ALL Doctors, lawyers, basically all professionals and land owners, were propping the Batista regime and actively supporting him. That is not the case at all and you know it.

      • citizenkane9 - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:57 PM

        Francisco, regardless of the fact that we disagree with each other, I respect your comments and insight. The history that I learned from my parents and grandparents was not taught in public school. Just because it was excluded, does not mean it is not fact. We could spend all day talking about island history, such as people like Pedro Campos, from Puerto Rico, who was Fidel Castro before Fidel, but it would just attract too much hate speech. There is a whole world of information out there that does not paint the United States in a good light, but it is what it is. Let me just finish with this. The entire educational system in this country and in most countries is to promote nationalism and for the next generation to be good citizens. Once you get to college, you begin reading things that were not mentioned in the text books. Some people decide that most of the stuff that they learned in public school was not pure fact and they develop their own ideas. This reality is the single most important reason why this country does not want free college education and the reason some countries oppress and censor information. Remember, the most dangerous people, in any country are the students. Knowledge is power and that power is a threat to any nation, whether it is the United States or China. Just look at the political machine today. Politicians used to debate each other with facts and respected other opinions. Today, all you have to do is take advantage of the many ignorant people in this country and create commercials with lies and attacks that demonize the competition. Knowledge is power, but perception and money is what controls that power.

  23. citizenkane9 - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Francisco, I think that Hugo Chavez is a brutal dictator and that Castro is a brutal dictator. I have mentioned this specifically. As far as the “Batista” label, most of the people who fled benefited from his regime, regardless of the fact that some were doctors and hard-working professionals. None of my comments are based on emotions. I really don’t have any sides in the conflict. The fact of the matter is that the climate in “Little Havana” has always been fueled by the fact that Castro kept this country at bay. Just look at the lie that Marco Rubio said about his family. He used the political climate in “Little Havana” to promote his political aspirations. If he had just simply said that his family left during Batista’s time, it would not mean crap to the locals. To say that his family was driven from Cuba by a dicator, it has political clout. Now as far as Latinos are concerned. I am a Latino and the problem with the media, in this country, is that all Latinos are placed together in one group. When I was growing up, we were all knife carrying Puerto Ricans. After Scarface, we were all Cuban drug dealers. After Pablo Escobar, we were Colombian drug dealers. Today, we are all illegal aliens. The fact of the matter is that the Miami Dade Cuban American’s are not the same as Puerto Ricans or Dominicans. Most are Republican who hate Fidel Castro and do not like anyone who does not agree with them. All of my facts can be substantiated. As far as my opions go, it does not mean a thing. The only reason for my comments are to show another side, that has been ignored in this country.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:32 PM

      Thank you for your erudite comments. Some may not be able to appreciate them, as is usually the case with narrow minded clones-of-the-parental-unit types.

    • Francisco (FC) - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:53 PM

      “None of my comments are based on emotions.”

      That’s not the point. You can make emotionless inaccurate comments and statements. Mind you, I’m fascinated by your discourse. I’m pointing out however, where I think you make unfair characterizations as you interpret and state events as you understand them.

      • citizenkane9 - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:07 PM

        You want to have an argument over semantics. Fact, Castro interfered in other regimes. Fact, he and Che were supporting regimes that were opposing United States led regimes. The two facts are the same. One side is anti-communism and protecting American interest and the interest of allies and the other is protecting a nation from having political puppets. It’s all about perception. I see both sides, some people see one side. As far as being accused of labeling, it does not hold water. The facts cannot be disputed.

      • Francisco (FC) - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:10 PM

        “You want to have an argument over semantics. Fact, Castro interfered in other regimes. Fact, he and Che were supporting regimes that were opposing United States led regimes. The two facts are the same.”

        Hardly semantics. Those two facts are not the same. Let me give you an example. Castro financed and supported guerrillas in Venezuela during the 60’s. They even staged a short lived invasion. The objective was to specifically topple the government to install a new one friendly to them. There was no ‘regime’ to support. Same thing with Che and Bolivia.

        That is different from saying that today Castro supports the government of Nicaragua under Ortega because he opposes Honduras and Mexico which are pro US nations.

        In other words there is a difference in attempting to undermine existing regimes in countries through guerilla warfare and supporting existing regimes that are ideologically aligned with you in opposing your main enemy.

        You should know this.

        “As far as being accused of labeling, it does not hold water.”

        Just because you say so doesn’t make it so. I specifically pointed out how your characterization labels everyone who fled Cuba when Castro came to power as a Batista supporter (your use of the word “benefitted” has negative connotations, and I disagree with this characterization.)

    • legalzen - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      I think you are mistaken when you think that Hugo Chavez is a brutal dictator. He has been democratically elected twice in fair elections. He may be not-so-wise ego maniac, but a majority of Venezuelans have voted for him twice. And how has been brutal? While he has curtailed some press freedoms and instituted questionable changes to the Venezuelan constitution, he has not killed or jailed his opponents. Hardly brutal, given the scope of things world leaders do, for example in Syria. Castro on the other hand was certainly a dictator, as is his little brother after him. However, in comparison to some of the worlds really brutal dictator, calling Castro brutal is kind of a stretch. He has jailed some of his opponents. A few may have even been killed. But look at what Al-Assad is doing in Syria, or what Saddam Hussein did to the Kurds, or what Milosevic did to the Bosniaks. If Castro was/is brutal, what are these guys?

      • Francisco (FC) - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:52 PM

        As a demonstration of how opinions, statements and comments are not absolute, observe how I can agree with certain portions and disagree with others.

        Citizen Kane: “Francisco, I think that Hugo Chavez is a brutal dictator and that Castro is a brutal dictator. I have mentioned this specifically”

        I never accused you of not saying so, interesting you found the need to highlight it. I just happen to find some of your statements unfair or inaccurate. I’m sure many find mine the same way. In any case I will agree with the latter and disagree a bit with the former. Chavez is not in the same class of dictator as Castro. He’s cunning though and has forged an authoritarian government where the important levers of power are wielded by him and those close enough to influence him. However much I dislike Chavez brutal is not really an adjective I can apply to him with the same meaning as we say Castro is brutal.

        Legalzen: “He has been democratically elected twice in fair elections.”

        My quibble with this is that elections cannot be democratically fair when one side uses state treasury to out finance its opponents 23-to-1 and uses the law and other offices to otherwise hamper or hobble the opposing political party’s campaigns. Basically speaking Chavez and his part stack the deck heavily at election time. It’s quite unfair.

        “…or jailed his opponents.”

        I will quibble with this as well. It’s not through lack of trying, as many political exiles can attest and in reality there ARE a number of political prisoners. ( A famous ongoing case is Judge Afiuni ). But they are out of the spotlight. The majority occurred in a backwater province of the country. In a state where the news focus is on the capital, not much is reported in out of the way places. Some have been released, others not yet.

        “However, in comparison to some of the worlds really brutal dictator, calling Castro brutal is kind of a stretch. He has jailed some of his opponents. A few may have even been killed. But look at what Al-Assad is doing in Syria, or what Saddam Hussein did to the Kurds, or what Milosevic did to the Bosniaks. If Castro was/is brutal, what are these guys?”

        My problem with this line of thought is the assumption that brutality is limited somehow to scale. After all, wouldn’t you call what happened to Brian Stow brutal?

    • papito1421 - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:26 PM

      Citizen: The irony to it is that they are mostly republicans, yet every immigration that happened from the island happened only with democrats (JFK, Carter, Clinton). Have you ever read of any exodus during Reagan/Bush Sr/Bush Jr?

  24. tmkelley1 - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Excuse me, but this Conservative Republican wants to know what the heck happened to freedom of speech? Is he not allowed the same freedoms as all the rest of us? Why is he being suspended? Was he bribed? Fixed a game? No, he spoke his mind, and he has the absolute right to do that without encumbrance, without fear, and without retribution from anyone. And so do you.

    • boballende - Apr 10, 2012 at 10:54 PM

      I agree. This is precisely why this country is falling apart. I am tired of cowards who seem to think that corporations can do whatever they want. American corporations aren’t as American as they pretend to be.

      If corporations are doing business in America, and are going to wave the flag and parade the troops like MLB, Americans need to start insisting that these corporations follow our fundamental values which includes free speech whether it is a violation of the First Amendment or not.

  25. namriverrat69 - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    It all boils down to the definition of what “is” is. And I did not have sex with that woman.

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