When Ozzie Guillén, manager of the rebranded Miami Marlins, inserted the proverbial foot-in-mouth during an interview with TIME magazine, where he stated, “I love Fidel Castro,” I immediately began to question the Marlins’ management strategy.
I thought, “Clearly this guy has no understanding of local politics. Clearly he has no understanding of what so many of us lived through in a Fidel-Castro-Cuban regime. Clearly the Marlins management doesn’t necessarily know what it’s doing to the brand.” I wasn’t alone.
To give you some quick background: What Guillén said is highly offensive to many Hispanics of Cuban origin, especially to those who are older. Cubans did not come to the U.S. looking for a better job or a better economic opportunity. Many lawyers, doctors, engineers, journalists and professionals left their homes, careers and even families because of political oppression and the sheer lack of simple human rights — all attributed to Castro and his followers.
Just as recently as last month, during the Pope’s visit to Cuba, he reiterated how important it was to keep in mind human rights above all else in the island. He urged the Cuban people, “that you may strive to build a renewed and open society, a better society, one more worthy of humanity.”
Having been personally affected by this communist regime, I was taken aback upon hearing about Guillen’s remarks. The fact that he was suspended for five games for his comment didn’t seem like “enough” to me initially. Then, I thought, “How could the Marlins public relations team not have provided such important market-sensitive information?”