U.S. Censorship

http://www.thefloridanewsjournal.com/2012/04/10/miami-marlins-coach-ozzie-guillen-suspended-after-complementing-fidel-castro-and-saying-h

If this man or anyone in America loves Fidel Castro why isn’t he allowed to say so without there being an uproar? Doesn’t America believe in freedom of speech? Secondly why should anyone care about what is said about politics by a man whose life is coaching grown men to play a child’s game? What kind of an apology is it when it is given under duress? How is this any different then when a terrorist group forces a U.S. hostage to make a video denouncing America?

When you consider that America has diplomatic relations with many other governments that are ruled by more unsavory characters then it seems apparent that America’s obsession with destablizing Cuba is irrational and should be an embarrassment to the nation.

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11 thoughts on “U.S. Censorship

  1. I don’t agree with the censorship; however, the Marlins may think that by doing so, they can appease the large Cuban community in Miami, especially those who hate Castro as a result of losing their businesses and other properties when they fled to the United States. I would imagine, then, that this was a business decision. But I don’t think it is going to make anyone happy to be honest. They should just try to move on and pretend nothing happened.

    There is no free speech in professional sports. In the NBA, for example, there are steep fines and even suspension for talking about an off-limits subject, imposed either by a team or by the league. They are not allowed to talk about the referees no matter how atrocious their calls. I think it is stupid. It’s like trying to say, “Hey, there is no pink elephant in this room”. But the rules in the basketball, in my view, give the referees too large of a role, especially in the last two minutes of a close game. That’s one reason why the NBA is pretty boring to watch. So why not let the players and other members talk about this problem? Same with Castro. If people like him, let’s talk about it. The uncensored truth can only help us understand what happened in Cuba.

  2. @petros- I can understand a fine if the speech being penalized is related directly to the sport and unduly harms the sport or is a punishable crime but this falls into neither of those camps.

    @uncletell- I love baseball but I don’t care for the wages that some of the players are paid. Some years ago Ken Burns did an excellent series on baseball for PBS and a segment of it covered the rise in salaries and club purchase prices. Of course this same criticism can be levelled at many other professional sports.

  3. Words spoken have consequences. There are times when it is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool rather than to open it and remove all doubt. He certainly had every right to say what he said, but what he said was akin to standing up in a Jewish congregation and telling those present that that Adolph Hitler was really a very kind and gentle person. People today in Europe; bastions of free speech, are not looked upon very kindly either when they state that the Holacoust never happened.

    Not only are there Cubans in Miami who lost their businesses when Castro’s revolutionary government expropriated everything, but there are many whose brothers, fathers and other relatives were lined up against the wall “El Paredon” and summarily executed. Those who fled Cuba during the early days of the revolution, and even today, were permitted to leave only with the clothes on their backs. They were stripped of watches, rings, family photos, money, etc. The were overjoyed just to be alive.

    Words carelessly spoken do have consequences which are not erased by apologies.

  4. @rogerconklin- I agree that words do have consequences. I believe that other than the American Revolution, that there have been few relatively few revolutions in the history of man that have been free of atrocities.
    My gripe though is that America has never really had a problem with getting in bed with a dictator who killed his own people. I think about Saddam Hussein who gassed his own people. Marcos who imprisoned and killed his people. Mao who we all know killed millions of his people and the list goes on.
    We shouldn’t forget about the suffering and oppression that was endured everyday in pre-revolution Cuba, by those who did not own anything.

  5. recalcitrant wrote:

    @petros- I can understand a fine if the speech being penalized is related directly to the sport and unduly harms the sport or is a punishable crime but this falls into neither of those camps.

    Perhaps. yet there is probably some kind of clause in everyone’s contracts that one not make controversial political statements that detracts from the business. Those in the entertainment business probably do well, from a business point of view, to avoid political statements and activism–lest they piss off their clients. They have free speech, but that doesn’t mean people have to buy their products. For the Marlins, then, the suspenscion is a Hail Mary–a desperate attempt to remain in good graces with a part of their client base.

  6. @recalcitrantexpat, not for one minute do I believe that Fulgencio Batiista, the dictator of Cuba overthrown by Castro was an Angel of Light. There have been few revolutions that had any more support by the majority of the population than Fidel’s revolution. Castro promised free and open elections within his first year, but that has not happened to this day. But far from improving the lot of the poor, today’s poor in Cuba are no better off nor do they have any more liberties that did the poor prior to the revolution. I have been there myself and seen and talked with them, stayed in their humble homes and drank coffee they prepared for my wife and I in a tin can over an open fire in their back yard. Cuba has not progressed but regressed in the 53 years since Castro’s triumphial entry into Havana on January 1, 1959 and set up his headquarters in the Havana Hilton Hotel; now known as the Havana Libre Hotel.

    I have been in the telephone business all of my life and am aware that prior to the revolution there were more telephones in tiny Cuba than all but three much larger Latin American countries: Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. Havana was the second capital city in the world with a totally automatic dial telephone system in 1920. Berlin was the first. Washington DC did not complete its conversion to full automatic dial telephone service until April 9, 1949.

    Some comparative statistics: On Jan 1, 1927 the telephone density (telephones per 100 population) in Havana was 7.8. In London it was 4.4, Amsterdam 4.4, Madrid 2.4, Dublin 3.3, Antwerep 5.2, Buenos Aires 5.6 and Edenburg 4.3. I don’t have the latest statistics but today Havana compares to Port-au-Prince Haiti in telephone density.

    Don’t get me wrong: I do not favor at all the US ban on trade and travel with Cuba. It has accomplished nothing positive. But in spite of this ban the US in 2011 exported $352 million in foodstuffs and medicines to Cuba, a country which was a net exporter of foodstuffs prior to the revolution. Today, riding out across the vast and fertile agricultural lands in Central Cuba, as I did when I was there 4 years ago, you see almost nothing growing in the fields. Just a patch of sugar cane or bananas now and then. Just mile after mile of fields grown up to weeds and underbrush. I walked into a pharmacy in Esmeralda, Cuba and counted a total of 6 bottles of medications on its otherwise totally empty shelves.

    It is the political system of Cuba that has destroyed its capacity to even feed itself, not the US embargo. I did not see any overweight persons in Cuba. Nobody gets enough to eat. During a church service we attended about half the congregation ran out when someone came in the door to announce that a truckload of pineapples had just arrived at the market across the street, most returning a few minutes later with one pineapple each. They were all gone within minutes of the truck’s arrival. There is nothing that Cuba needs that it cannot import from other countries. But it lacks the money to pay for imports. The only reason it imports food from the US is because it owes so much to other food producing countries that they refuse to sell them any more until they pay what they owe. So they pay cash in advance, as required by US law, to import from the US. These goods cannot be loaded on the ship until payment has been received by the US bank.

  7. @rogerconklin- I guess the denial of credit isn’t contributing towards the crippling of Cuba’s economic and agricultural systems? We both know the important role that access to credit plays in the ability of any economy to serve a nation. Just ask Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy or even the U.S. If we have been taught anything from 2008 it is what happens to the economic system when credit dries up or when too much credit is allowed to build up.
    The U.S. embargo has hurt Cuba economically which is its purpose. As for the fact that Cuba used to be an exporter of foodstuffs, I find nothing unusual in that. Africa is also an exporter of food to Europe but look at the starvation that is suffered on that continent. Producing food for export was the economic paradigm of the colonial age and is still advocated by some as a means for a poor country to earn foreign exchange. Unnfortunately it doesn’t work.
    If the U.S. believed that opening trade with Russia and China was a way to bring democracy to those nations so why doesn’t it believe in doing the same for Cuba?
    At least Cuba has health care for all of its people in spite of the damaging consequences of the U.S. embargo. Cuba has a lower infant and maternal mortality rate than does the U.S. and that says a lot about it. What does America have, 50 million uninsured and millions more who have inadequate insurance?

  8. @recalcitrantexpat. For some strange reason which may difficult for most to understand, the non-US banks that have large overdue credits with Cuba seem unwilling to loan more. Several thousands of Cuba’s capable and well-traines medical doctors are currently serving as “volunteers” in Venezuela. Their earnings there contribute enormously to help the Cuban government pay for its petroleum imports from that country, since part of their compensation is used to pay for this petroleum. My personal physician in Miami is from and received his medical training in Cuba. He passed the Florida medical examination when he arrived here as a refugee and was immediately licensed to practice medicine here without any additional training. His father, a Cuban with US citizenship was a Havana University Medical School professor. They spoke English at home. So this made it possible for him to come to the US with a US passport rather than returning to Cuba when he was an official Cuban delegate at a medical conference in Colombia.

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