Baseball manager Guillen was quoted as saying (in Spanish, I believe):
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 mother f*cker is still here.I respect Fidel for the same reason. That S.O.B. has outlasted ten U.S. presents. Obama is his eleventh. Say what you want, Fidel has cojones. (And you think we'd be smart enough to figure out by now that perhaps if we really wanted to get rid of Fidel, perhaps sanctions are not the most effective way. Craaaazy thought, I know. Why would we ever admit we do anything wrong after just decades of failure? And US sanctions do hurt innocent Cubans.)
Fidel is the underdog, and it's hard not to root for the underdog. I root for the Cubs, about which Guillen once said, "Our [White Sox] Fans are not stupid like the Cub fans." But I got over it.
I didn't think it was a crime to love Fidel Castro. If so, a lot of liberals and academics would be in prison. (Not me, mind you. I had too many relatives suffer under communist Albania to fall for that crap.)
I've actually been to Cuba (December 1996, I think), and well, it was what it was. Cuba certainly could be a lot better, but it's not like it's all bad. Objectively, it was probably the worst "vacation" I've ever been on: it was surprisingly expensive (three types of currency were in use); off the main tourist path, food wasn't the easiest to come by; the scale and constant presence of prostitution was annoying and depressing. But it wasn't all bad. People were dancing in the streets. We met a nice Rasta on the way to Santiago de Cuba who took us under his wing (thus keeping all the other touts away). And the Cubans do appreciate a good game of chess. In fact, in public, playing chess the one surefire way to keep the whores and hustlers at bay.
Besides, it's not like our dictators have done so much better. And to compare Castro to Hitler (as some who are attacking Guillen are doing) is absurd. Mostly, Cuba was just a bit anti-climactic. It wasn't like going to Albania or even East Germany. Once you're there, you realize it's only the US that makes it such a big deal. Everybody else is free to visit.
I suspect that Guillen's "love" of Fidel is lot less than what comes from most liberals and academics in the US and around the world. But I don't even think Guillen even loves Fidel. It's not like he wants to make out with him. Reminds me of Sarah Silverman, who has a character, kind of like Guillen (described as a "harmless lump prone to adorably offending everyone around her") who apologies for using the word "gay": "I'm sorry, you guys, I don't mean gay like homosexual. I mean gay like retarded."
Oh, what's that knock on my door?