Crushing Dissent: Using Ozzie Guillén to Discredit the Cuban Revolution

Photo via Flickr by the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Public Affairs

By Ahjamu Umi

Miami Marlins Baseball manager Ozzie Guillén has a history of expressing his opinions on a variety of subjects ranging from racism to the Gay and Lesbian community. He was always quick to express his opinions as a player and equally willing to do the same while managing the Chicago White Sox. This season, he started his first campaign as manager for the Miami Marlins. Last week, Guillén became a central news story when he was quoted as saying he loves and respects Fidel Castro who is still the symbol of the Cuban revolution, even now after having stepped down in 2006 as secretary general of the Cuban Communist Party.

It’s not apparent whether Guillén has any real knowledge of the Cuban revolution or Fidel Castro’s history, although it should be mentioned that Guillén is from Venezuela and he was previously in hot water from the corporate establishment for praising Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. What is apparent is the overwhelming level of power that is exhibited by the Cuban exile community in Miami. Once Guillén’s comments were made public, mass protests against him and the Marlins in the Miami area were initiated and are still being carried out. Threats are being made to demand refunds of season tickets to ticket holders unless Guillén is fired. These responses are no surprise to anyone who is aware of the vicious and self-serving efforts of the so-called Cuban exile community in South Florida. What’s interesting is the method in which the mass capitalist media has automatically followed the same uncritical trend. All the capitalist news outlets, from CNN, to FOX, to the talk show circuit, and even Black radio, have all accepted the fallacious analysis promoted by the White Cuban exile community in Florida (98% of the Cuban exile community in Florida is White) that Cuba, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and anything associated with the Cuban revolution is evil. There was even a commentary by ESPN’s Colin Cowherd earlier this week where he stated confidently that praising Fidel Castro is exactly the same “as praising Adolf Hitler!” As I watched Guillén’s inevitable and pathetic apology press conference this week, I contemplated how the capitalist propaganda machine works 24/7 to spread confusion about socialism and any system or movement that puts people above profit. So, I thought it appropriate to fight back by injecting something the White Florida Cuban exile community has been allergic to for 52 years – facts.

The first myth that the counter-revolutionaries would have you believe, is that Cuba is nothing more than a bastion of oppression and despair. The truth is that any proper analysis of Cuba requires you to compare that island nation to the surrounding island nations which have the same geography, cultural conditions, and history. If you look at Cuba in comparison to Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Haiti, the countries in close proximity to Cuba, there really is no political, economic, or social comparison. According to the World Health Organization, Cuba outranks those nations in healthcare, with a standard that exceeds health quality in the U.S. There is also no comparison in the area of literacy, as everyone knows how to read in Cuba. In fact, the World Bank has hesitantly acknowledged that Cuba’s education system is among the best in the world, in spite of the fact that they are one of the very few technologically underdeveloped countries that does not accept financial assistance from the imperialist World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Cuba works daily to eradicate social inequity. As a result, crime is not a major factor in Cuba, whereas drug trafficking and related crime associated with social inequity flourishes in Jamaica, Haiti, and other surrounding countries. The primary difference between Cuba and those other countries? They are all capitalist countries and Cuba is socialist. What this means is, whereas Jamaica and Puerto Rico are practically colonies of the U.S., Cuba is an independent country. Whereas Haiti is more or less a sweat shop for U.S. capitalist labor, Cubans decide for themselves how they will proceed, choosing as Sekou Ture said “to move towards dignity in poverty rather than be slaves in comfort.”

The stark comparisons between a poor developing socialist country and poor capitalist countries is the core of what’s happening with this Ozzie Guillén issue. The capitalist forces within the U.S. are driving toward wiping out any form of dissent. They do this by promoting the narrative that there is really only one perspective – the capitalist perspective. Thus, they have no choice except to wage this unrelenting propaganda campaign against Cuba and Fidel Castro. Has Cuba been perfect? Of course not. Has Fidel not made mistakes? He has made tons of mistakes and the Cuban revolution will continue to make mistakes. But the U.S., the number one purveyor of violence in human history, is in no moral position to pass judgment on any nation or any people.  Still, with 20 million people homeless, 50 million without health care, and more and more people losing hope daily, it’s not a mystery why the U.S. capitalist machine wants to do whatever it can to confuse people about socialism and Cuba. It also makes sense why they would portray the racist White Cubans in Florida as victims. If you know anything about revolution, then you know revolutions are fought for the people on the bottom of the society. Cuba was a slave society like the U.S. As a result, like the U.S., racism is a systematic necessity in Cuba. It has been for the last 400 years. The revolution has done much to combat racism in Cuba, things the U.S. hasn’t done, like outlaw racism in all forms, but they still have much work to do. Even so, if you understand that societal phenomenon, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to understand why 98% of Miami’s Cuban community is White and 70% of Cuba is now African or Black. The people with privilege never acknowledge any of this I’ve said. Nor do they ever voluntarily give up power, thus the mass exodus of White people from Cuba. They and their families stole the wealth of Cuba on the backs of African people and then they flee to the U.S. where they can continue to function within the same type of racist class system they benefitted from in Cuba.

These are the reasons why the Ozzie Guillén story developed and will continue to develop whenever someone with popular influence praises an enemy of U.S. capitalism. The job of revolutionaries is the clarify the confusion. Now I write quite a bit for the Occupier, but I have to confess that I don’t much read the comments, because, besides a few intelligent and thoughtful people, the majority of people just don’t know how to think before they respond.  So, for those of you who are objective, pay attention to the tactics of those who disagree. They will attack me personally, although they don’t know me, as promoting a victim ideology. This is a part of the strategy I’m addressing with this article. Don’t let these people confuse you. If they disagree and you want to listen to the arguments, train yourself to look for refutations of the facts I’ve presented.

Photo by Antonio Milena, via Wikipedia.

Is Fidel a monster? Why? He has helped bring great progress for the Cuban people and people all over the world, particularly in Africa. I’m talking about millions of people who benefit from the Cuban revolution through their revolutionary responsibility around health care, military support, and other areas of consistent involvement. So, why is he a monster? It can’t be for killing or imprisoning anyone, because who has killed and imprisoned more innocent people than Uncle Sam? So if Fidel is a monster, the U.S. has to be the world’s worst beast ever.

Is socialism bad?  How?  What is the definition of a socialist system?  If you say Britain, France, Canada, and other countries that have socialized concepts influenced by socialism, but aren’t socialist, then you have much work to do. The capitalist system doesn’t even want you to look in Fidel’s direction. They don’t want you to study a single concept he and the Cuban revolution have presented. They don’t want this because they know if you look in that direction you will become a supporter of socialist development and this is their greatest fear. Thus they present this façade that pretends everyone knows about Fidel, when in fact, no one here knows anything about Fidel, Cuba, or the Cuban revolution except the people who already support the Cuban revolution.

Class struggle is complex. That’s why racism is such a contentious subject in this country. Cuba is no different. The relationship between the African communities in Cuba and the increasing number of White Cubans who leave Cuba and come to the U.S. is no different. The contradiction where the U.S. presents itself as the main combatant against terrorism while supporting terrorists (with your tax dollars) who engage in shooting Cuban planes from the sky, killing 73 people, and then living on the tax dole for years in Florida (people like Luis Carrilles Posada and Orlando Bosch) is no different. The fact White people in the U.S. elevate the executions of a couple a hundred innocent people in Cuba around 1959-1960 (in the heat of overcoming years of brutal oppression from the Batista regime) over the fact Cuba has saved literally millions of lives in the Congo, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and countless other countries like Nicaragua is no different. That’s not to excuse those couple of hundred errors, but if that makes Cuba evil, then what is the U.S., which has killed millions of innocent people in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and in the ghettos and poor communities of this country?  This is especially true since Cuba made it errors attempting to build a system based on justice, whereas the U.S. continues to kill consistently to maintain corporate profits.

Again, don’t let them confuse and use you like they are using Ozzie Guillén. Don’t let them silence your voice. Fight for your intellectual and activist right to know what the hell is going on in the world. Read In Defense of Socialism by Fidel Castro. Read Capitalism in Crisis by Castro. Read “The Academic Advantage” and “Inside the Cuban Revolution.” Organize study groups around these concepts. Travel to Cuba if you can. Learn about socialist revolution and construction for yourself. Get involved by joining a revolutionary socialist political organization, and don’t let them curtail dissent. Don’t let them dismiss articles like this one as the “angry Black man” syndrome. The people of the world are on the rise and really what’s happening is there are a lot of angry White men. They’re angry because they know our time is coming and if our time is coming, then that means they know their time is coming also. No force on Earth will stop us – including the Cuban revolution. We are not Ozzie Guillén. We love Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and everyone associated with the Cuban revolution. We will never apologize to our enemies for stating those facts and we are prepared to fight for their revolution. Hopefully, you, like Jesus, are also on the side of the oppressed.


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