Fidel Castro

Ozzie Guillen finds himself in hot water in South Beach

Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has been with his new club for five games. On Monday, he found himself suspended for the next five games due to controversial comments he made in an interview with Time Magazine.

In the interview with Time, Guillen stated, “I love Fidel Castro. 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.”

In the heart of Miami, where the Cuban population is as prominent as any other, Guillen’s comments have been met with fury and protest. Guillen has since retracted his statements, and on Tuesday, gave a press conference asking forgiveness from the Miami faithful.

“I’m very embarrassed, I’m very sad,” said Guillen Tuesday, “the pain and suffering caused by Fidel Castro cannot be minimized, especially in a community filled with victims of the dictatorship.”

Guillen, who has been known to be outspoken in his previous eight years as the manager of the Chicago White Sox, has become somewhat familiar with sticking his foot in his own mouth. He found himself in hot water in June of 2006 when he used a homosexual slur to describe former Chicago Sun Times writer Jay Mariotti. After the White Sox won the World Series in 2005, Guillen declined the invite to the White House, instead returning to his native Venezuela to meet with Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

The Marlins just moved into their new stadium in the Little Havana section of Miami, and the front office has to be very weary of the backlash from the fan base. For a team that has struggled mightily to draw fans over the course of their history, Guillen’s comments could drive a wedge in the relationship between the clientele and the team. Fortunately for Guillen, he managed to keep his job through the storm. Now we wait and see how the fans react, and whether or not they open up their wallets with forgiveness.

Cuba’s Fidel Castro, left, and Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez look at Granma state newspaper in an unknown location in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday. (AP Photo/Granma)

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela’s government postponed next week’s summit of Latin American leaders Wednesday, citing President Hugo Chavez’s health as he recovers from surgery in Cuba.

The decision to put off the July 5-6 meeting until later this year was announced shortly after new videos aired on state television showing Chavez chatting with Fidel Castro in Cuba, appearing lucid and talkative. Chavez’s televised appearance broke a long post-surgery silence that has prompted speculation about his health.

“The president is in the middle of a recuperation process and extremely strict medical treatment,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

As a result, it said, Venezuela has consulted with other governments and “made the decision to postpone” the gathering of Latin American and Caribbean leaders on
Margarita Island.

Chavez had been expected to host the summit on the 200th anniversary of Venezuela’s independence from Spain. He promoted it as an event to lay the groundwork for a new regional bloc, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, that would exclude the United States
and Canada.

Chavez has been largely out of sight since the government announced June 10 that he had undergone pelvic surgery.

Chavez has said the surgery removed an abscess, yet a lack of details about his condition has fed speculation in Venezuela that the president might be seriously ill.

He spoke once in a telephone call to state television two days after the operation, and appeared in photographs alongside both Fidel and Raul Castro that were published June 18.

Vice President Elias Jaua said Chavez was on top of his duties and worked on military issues and other matters Wednesday. He did not provide other details about Chavez’s health, nor say when he was expected to return home.