How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Would Ozzie Guillen's Castro comments be taken differently in another city?

Perhaps this one can be filed under yes, it's true, Latinos are not all alike: The Venezuelan-born manager of the Miami Marlins, Ozzie Guillen, was suspended for five games after making positive comments about Cuban socialist leader Fidel Castro in a recent interview with Time magazine.

The 85-year-old Castro, who took power in 1959 and only recently handed the reins to his younger brother, is a reviled dictator among Cuban immigrants, a sentiment that runs deep in Miami and has been passed along to subsequent generations of Cuban Americans. But he's admired by some in other Latin American countries; among his fans is Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, who recently had cancer surgery in Cuba.

Which begs the question: If Guillen managed a team in, say, Los Angeles, what would the reaction to his comments be? From a Christian Science Monitor story today:

The comments might not have caused too much of a stir in many other cities. But Guillen coaches a team with a pricey new ballpark in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, densely populated by Cuban-Americans who fervently dislike Fidel Castro.

What"s worse, he"s the face of a massive rebranding effort by the club, which hoped to use him as a tool to attract a potentially sizable Hispanic fan base.

The Marlins quickly distanced themselves from Guillen"s remarks, releasing a statement saying, "There is nothing to respect about Fidel Castro. He is a brutal dictator who caused unthinkable pain for more than 50 years. We live in a community filled with victims of his dictatorship and the people in Cuba continue to suffer today."

Those potential fans are now loudly calling for him to be fired.

Read more at: www.csmonitor.com

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