Guillen's Comments Strike a Nerve
April 21, 2012Harvard High School
Ozzie's Comments Strike a Nerve
by Josie Rivera
"When in Rome do as the Romans do. When in Miami, do not love a dictator."
That was the response from Harvard High teacher Mr. Armando Valdes to Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen's published comments praising Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Valdes, a Cuban native who just recently earned his American citzenship, was appallled by Guillen's comments.
"In the U.S. you have the right to express your opinion without getting tin trouble with the law," the foreign language teacher said. "But Ozzie Guillen cannot be insensitive about other people's feelings and not expect to suffer the consequences."
Like most Cubans, Valdes' family endured much hardship and oppression in Cuba under Castro. When Guillen, an outspoken baseball personality and the former Chicago White Sox manager, was quoted in Time Magazine earlier this month as appreciating and respecting Castro, he felt the brunt of angry Cuban exiles in Miami and across the country - including here. "Ozzie lacks a lot of common sense," said Valdes. "My children are allowed only to hate one person and that person is Castro."
For a baseball club based in the Little Havana neighborhoods of Miami, Guillen's support of Castro was a huge blunder for the free-wheeling life-time baseball man originally from Venezuela. Guillen apologized for his comments and returned to the field this week after a five-game suspension handed out by the team in response to his praise of Castro.
The 86-year-old president of Cuba was actually scouted by U.S. major league baseball teams as a pitcher in the late 1950s before taking control of the country and becoming a full-time dictator.