Cuban-American Group To Boycott Miami Marlins

Vigilia Mambisa said it will boycott the team until Ozzie Guillen steps down.

A group of Cuban-American demonstrators plans to boycott the Miami Marlins as a result of manager Ozzie Guillen's comment that he respects Fidel Castro.

Vigilia Mambisa, headed by Miguel Saavedra, said it plans to begin a caravan of cars at SW 36th Avenue and 8th Street Tuesday that will culminate in front of the ballpark.

Guillen's comment was published in an online Time Magazine article.

"I love Fidel Castro," Guillen was quoted as saying. "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****** is still here."

The team manager issued an apology Saturday, one that came after a statement from the Marlins that said that Castro is a "brutal dictator" and has "caused unthinkable pain," according to a spokeswoman.

"I will apologize if I hurt somebody's feelings, or I hurt somebody's thought," Guillen said. "I want them to know I'm against everything 100 percent — I repeat it again — the way this man (been) treating people for the last 60 years."

Guillen announced he'd fly back to Miami Tuesday to discuss the comments.

"I feel sad and in a couple days I you know, stuck in my stomach, not because what I did, it just because I know I hurt a lot of people and I want to make it clear, especially for me," Guillen said before Monday's game in Philadelphia. "I want to get the thing over with and I told the Marlins I want to fly as soon as I can and tomorrow is the day off, I don't do nothing in Philadelphia, I'd rather be in Miami, clear everything up."

Vigilia Mambisa said they will boycott the Marlins until Guillen steps down, and will demonstrate to show its rejection of the manager's comments.

The group describes themselves as a "hard-line, right wing, anti-Castro, anti-communist group," according to their Facebook page.

At Versailles Cafe on Sunday, much of the talk turned to Guillen's comments.

"Its not only a lack of respect, its a direct insult to the Cuban community," said Raimundo Couret.

Roberto Torricella, said that because Guillen is Venezuelan, two communities have been slapped in the face.

"It's got to be a total insult to the Venezuelans as well because most of them are here looking for liberty and democracy much in the same way Cubans are," Torricella said.

Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez condemned Guillen's statement.

"For too long, the Marlins organization has been the source of controversies in our community and I now challenge them to take decisive steps to bring this community back together," Gimenez said.

Meanwhile, Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Joe A. Martinez sent a letter to Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria calling the statements a "slap in the face of those who have fought oppression in this communtiy and everywhere in the world."

He also urged Loria to call for Guillen's resignation.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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