What the heck, Ozzie Guillen thought. Might as well swing for the fences!
Well, he hit it out of Numbskull Park, he did: The Venezuela-born Miami Marlins manager took a match to just about everyone north of Havana when he said in a recent Time magazine that he loved Fidel Castro and respected his longevity in Cuba.
What’s not to love? Castro has only put the island nation on complete lockdown in a time warp for half a century, impoverishing his people in every way you can impoverish someone, while taking a chainsaw to family relationships, imprisoning detractors and free-thinkers, shredding innate ambition and strangling the spirit, killing untold numbers directly – or indirectly, by making them desperate enough to defy shark-infested waters to escape to freedom – and, oh by the way, taking the world to a hair’s breadth of nuclear war. All while trying to export his special brand of tough love and shackles to the rest of the hemisphere.
What a guy!
There’s no explaining how imbecilic and offensive Guillen’s praise of Castro is, because there’s no way of quantifying the human misery the unrepentant communist reprobate has forced upon the world one spoonful at a time. Not to mention all the human potential he’s kept bottled up or poured down his little dictator drain. The things a nameless, faceless, hopeless Cuban man, woman or child could’ve have done, could’ve become, could’ve shared with the world had they been let out from under this man’s heavy thumb, we will never know.
Far from being an object of admiration or respect, the Castro era has been an uninterrupted nightmare for all but the favored and connected. Fidel Castro didn’t just drink from the poisoned well of oppression, he bottled it and proudly stamped his furry face on the label.
What part of all this is lost on Ozzie Guillen, that he stands in the shadow of this human tragedy and knocks the tears of Castro’s victims from his cleats and expresses love for the man? Would he stand with the people of Haiti and pay homage to earthquakes? How shallow is one’s thinking, how dull the senses, when he can pass all of this palpable heartbreak and anger on the way to the ballpark and never pick up the least scent of any of it?
Having said that, we’re unsettled by the team’s decision to suspend him for five games. While in our hearts we’d like to see him booted for much longer, it nonetheless troubles us that he’s being penalized merely for saying something – however doltish and ignorant. It makes us wonder: Isn’t that Castro’s own modus operandi – to punish people for thought crimes?
Guillen says he’s “very, very, very sorry about the problem, about what happened. I will do everything to make it better, everything in my power to make it better.” One look at him tells you he means it. So, rather than suspend him, why not help him instead? And maybe help others in the process?
First, so that he starts to comprehend freedom and the lack of it, buy the poor fellow a U.S. Constitution, perhaps in his native tongue.
The opening paragraph alone should grab him by the heart:
“Nosotros, el Pueblo de los Estados Unidos, con el Fin de formar una Unión más perfecta, establecer Justicia, asegurar la Tranquilidad interna, proveer la defensa común, promover el Bienestar general y garantizar para nosotros mismos y para nuestros Descendientes los Beneficios de la Libertad, ordenamos y establecemos esta Constitución para los Estados Unidos de América.”
That’s just a start. If Guillen truly wants to make it better, he’ll become an expert on the blessings of liberty – and he’ll share the story of human freedom with anyone willing to listen.
Sadly enough, there are plenty of folks right here in America who need to hear it.