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realclearworld

Guillen and Cuban Exiles in Miami: Blaming the victims

After combing through dozens upon dozens of articles and commentary regarding Ozzie Guillen's insulting remarks on Fidel Castro, one thing has become abundantly clear besides the fact that Guillen still has a knack for making asinine statements: Cuban exiles in Miami are a despicable intolerant community. Imagine that. The victims of Guillen's opprobrious comments are actually the ones who deserve the blame for this controversy. It turns out that in the view of many in the press, the remarks by the Miami Marlins manager praising a dictator responsible for the murder of thousands and the exile of millions did not expose his callous predilection for Fidel but instead exposed just how disdainful and horrible Cuban Americans in Miami truly are for expressing their disapproval.

Over and over again, I read how it is all about Guillen's freedom to express himself as he pleases, no matter how stupid the remarks. Sure, it may be politically incorrect speech, but it is a right at the heart of this country's founding principles, they say. Nonetheless, after reading several of these opinions, it appears that this right does not extend to Miami's Cuban Americans. While Ozzie is free to say whatever he likes, no matter how insulting it may be, Cuban Americans should keep their thoughts and comments to themselves. In other words, the victims of Ozzie's statements should abdicate their own right to free expression, sit quietly, and take the insults and disrespect with a smile on their face.

There is no doubt that Guillen's clownish behavior has sparked a response made up of other clownish behavior by some in this community. Cameras and microphones have searched every nook and cranny in Little Havana to photograph and record the most outrageous reaction they can find. But lost in this spectacle is the fact that if Ozzie has a "right" to be a clown, everyone else has a right to be a clown as well. However, that is not how many see this controversy. To them, the entire story is a loutish exile community trying to restrict his free speech.

This controversy brings back to the surface the contemptuous perception of the Cuban exile community held by many in this country. While other embattled minority groups are treated with deference, Cuban exiles are all too often treated with disdain. They find nothing wrong with poking fun at the tragedy and suffering we have endured. It is alright to insult Cuban Americans because they are, after all, only Cuban Americans. They are not Puerto Ricans, or Mexicans, and to some, they are not even worthy of the "Latino" label (which is fine by me). Their bad fortune and suffering is all their fault, not the fault of  the vile and brutal dictator who victimized them. Like the repugnant premise that a rape victim brought sexual assault upon herself for dressing too provocatively, Cubans exiles brought murder and the destruction of millions of lives upon themselves for being too uppity and apparently, too willing to express their opinions.

Chances are this controversy will run its course and before long, especially if the Marlins have a good season, we will have all forgotten about it. But what we will not forget is the fact that the Cuban exile community, which has suffered more than its fair share of pain, continues to be marginalized by those who simply do not like us. We are victims of a brutal and murderous dictatorship, and as far as many are concerned, we deserve the blame for that.

9 comments to Guillen and Cuban Exiles in Miami: Blaming the victims

  • La Conchita

    The 'appreciation' for the exile community in Miami since 1959 ended with Ronald Reagan's term, and the collapse of the 'Evil Empire'. Once the Soviet threat was gone from the world, we were exposed to be marginalized at no loss whatsoever.

  • Jorge Ponce

    Unquestionably, the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees its citizens the right to free speech. What the Constitution does not protect is the fact that there are consequences for your right to say what you please. I'm glad that it is the Cuban-American community that is teaching Ozzie Guillen this important lesson.

  • asombra

    Again, remember Marge Schott, who as owner of the Cincinnati Reds made some pro-Hitler remarks. Did any of these people now criticizing Cuban-Americans come to her defense like they're defending Ozzie? I seriously doubt it, and we all know why.

  • Rayarena

    Alberto,

    You're absolutely right. The MSM wants us, Cuban-Americans, to turn around and keep quiet. Oh, other groups are allowed to boycott, protest, demand that the offending person apology and step down, but not Cuban Americans.

    I despise Rick Sanchez, the sellout, Cuban American former CNN newscaster, and don't shed any tears for his demise, but his is a classic case in point. He was fired for alleged antisemitism and nobody criticized Jews, nobody said that the Jewish community thwarts freedom of expression.

    In the U.K., a pro soccer player was fired this past January, Lee Steele, for doing even less severe than what Mr. Guillen did. Mr. Steele wrote a homophobic remark [not an interview in a major magazine] in his own tweeter account and for this he was fired.

    http://www.edgeboston.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=international&sc3=&id=128788

    Here is what GLAAD had to say about a hockey player that made a homophobic remark:

    In Sept. 2011, Wayne Simmonds, a hockey player for the Philadelphia Flyers, was caught on video making an anti-gay epithet towards New York Rangers player, Sean Avery, during a game, the Associated Press reported.

    The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) called out Simmonds and demanded he apologize to Avery.

    "Hate speech and anti-gay slurs have no place on the ice rink," GLAAD acting president Mike Thompson said in a statement. "The word that Simmonds used is the same word that is hurled at LGBT youth on the playground and in our schools, creating a climate of intolerance and hostility.

    "He should not only apologize for this anti-gay outburst, but the Philadelphia Flyers and the NHL have a responsibility to take action and educate their fans about why this word is unacceptable."

    But, that's GLAAD and they like all other groups have a right to get upset when their people are offended and insulted. We Cubans have to suck it up.

    By the way, I'm sure that Lisandro Perez will now use this incident to write another "scholarly" study on Cuban Americans and their "intolerance."

  • asombra

    Look, it's the same old two-faced hypocrisy. Same shit, different day.

  • asombra

    Nobody says Ozzie can't love Castro or say he does. But nobody has to buy Marlins tickets if anything whatsoever about the Marlins organization offends them. Is that clear enough?

  • We're the only people on earth accused of censorship when we vote with our dollars.

  • Rayarena

    Humberto,
    The problem is that castro controls the narrative on Cuba and Cuban Americans. Through a series of networks such as: foreign embassies, cultural attaches, visiting professors, Cuba's version of Reuter's--Prensa Latina, infiltrated "Cuba experts,"living in the USA, international conferences and symposiums, ICAIC and other forums, the regime repeats these absurd notions ad nauseam. Thus, we have become in the eyes of the world: INTOLERANT, TROGLODYTES, AND anti-freedom of expression types of people.

  • asombra

    Look, this is just double-standard time, again. Don't blame Castro. Blame the usual hypocrites, I mean suspects. They all know damn well that anyone who has any problem with the Marlins, even if it's with the players' uniforms or the choice of mascot, has every right to boycott, badmouth or otherwise act against the Marlins organization in any way whatsoever, as long as it's not illegal. Nobody's ignorant or confused here. We just need to do what we need to do, period. Forget the assholes. Just never, ever put up with any more shit if you can help it.