Leaders of Miami's large Cuban community are planning to boycott the city's Major League Baseball franchise after manager Ossie Guillen said in an interview that he "loves Fidel Castro." The Venezuelan who in the past has been criticized for his relationship with that country's president Hugo Chavez has apologized for his remarks that appeared in Time magazine, but that has failed to placate his opponents.
A demonstration organized by the anti-Castro group Vigilia Mambisa, is planned on Tuesday outside the Miami Marlins new stadium in Little Havana to demand Guillen be fired, Miami's NBC affiliate reported.
Guillen is due to fly back to Miami on Tuesday, an off day in their series in Philadelphia against the Phillies, to apologize again for his comments.
Time quoted him as saying, "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."
But after word of his comment got out, Guillen, who took over the Marlins this season after seven years helming the Chicago White Sox, said, "I will apologize if I hurt somebody's feelings, or I hurt somebody's thought. I want them to know I'm against everything 100 percent. I repeat it again. The way this man has been treating people for the last 60 years."
In a statement, the Marlins said, "There is nothing to respect about Fidel Castro. He is a brutal dictator who has caused unthinkable pain for more than 50 years. We live in a community filled with victims of this dictatorship and the people in Cuba continue to suffer today."
Guillen attracted controversy while with the White Sox when he twice appeared on Chavez's Venezuelan TV show. When the Sox won the World Series in 2005, Chavez sent his congratulations.
During his introductory press conference as manager of the Marlins he was asked if he was a fan of the Venezuelan dictator and said, "Don't tell my wife that, because she hates that man. She hates him to death," before saying he never supported him.
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