The manager of a professional Major League Baseball team based in Florida, home to a large population of Cuban exiles, has been suspended for five games without pay because of remarks he made in support of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen made a public statement of apology Tuesday, shortly after his suspension was announced.
The Venezuelan-born Guillen, a former All-Star player and a naturalized U.S. citizen, recently told Time magazine that he loves Castro and respects him for staying in power for six decades.
The remarks sparked anger among members of Miami’s large Cuban exile community, many of whom have family members still living in the communist island nation just 170 kilometers southwest of the Florida coast.
The Marlins team as a whole released a statement saying the players do not support Guillen’s comments. The statement said “The pain and suffering caused by Fidel Castro cannot be minimized, especially in a community filled with victims of the dictatorship.”
On Tuesday, Guillen said at a news conference that his remarks, made in Spanish, did not come out the way he had wanted, once they were translated into English. He said that he is “100 percent” against the way Castro treats the country and its people.
He added this was “the biggest mistake” of his life.