CINCINNATI -- Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen apologized for his comments in the current issue of Time magazine concerning Cuban leader Fidel Castro. In the article, Guillen said "I love Fidel Castro" but later clarified the comment to say he respected the Cuban leader because Castro had managed to hold power for 60 years despite attempts against his life.
As the Marlins were preparing to take batting practice Saturday at Great American Ballpark, the four beat writers who cover the team were summoned to Guillen's office, where he apologized for his remarks. The Marlins have also put out a statement which reads: "We are aware of the article. There is nothing to respect about Fidel Castro. He is a brutal dictator who has caused unthinkable pain for more than 50 years. We live in a community filled with victims of this dictatorship and the people in Cuba continue to suffer today."
Here's the full transcript of what Guillen told beat writers:
"There's a statement about, it's a magazine come out, quoting me 'I love Fidel.' Kind of funny (expletive). But it's not funny. I want to send a statement to the public. But, being more myself, I think statements is for the people that don't want to face the media and don't want to face the truth and hiding for what they did and what they don't did.
"I think when I was talking about that specific man, it was personal. It wasn't politic. I don't believe in politics. I come from a place that has been very, very struggle in politics. I'm against the way he (Castro) treats people and the way treats his country for a long time. I'm against that 100 percent. I'm not crazy or stupid or ignorant to say I love somebody. It don't just hurt Cuban people. It hurt a lot of people, and Venezuelans. The statement I make, whoever got hurt or whoever misunderstood, or whoever can take it the way the way they want to take it, I will apologize for the thing. I will apologize if I hurt somebody's feelings, or I hurt somebody's thought. I want them to know I"m against everything 100 percent -- I repeat it again -- the way this man be treating people for the last 60 years.
"The reason I say I admire him is because a lot of people want to get rid of this guy and they couldn't yet. It was kind of personal, not political. If you not read the article, it sound ugly, because the first time I read it I thought 'Wow, that going to get me in trouble.' I understand that. And I'm not hiding from anybody, especially the people in Miami. I just finished up talking to the Spanish people (media). With the bottom of my heart, if they want to believe me...if they're disappointed or upset at what I say, I don't blame them. But I live in Miami for 12 years. I know exactly what this man (Castro) means to the town.
QUESTION: What exactly was the context of what you said?
Guillen: "The guy put in the first thing, 'I love Fidel." And then I say, 'But this (expletive) still alive.' I'd rather talk to you guys personal. To me, I'm not a statement guy.
QUESTION: But when you said 'I love Fidel,' what were you referring to?
Guillen: "I said I respect this man because I respect Obama, I respect Chavez, I respect everybody because I always respect people. But, meanwhile, I disagree 100 percent what this guy been doing to that country. I respect him because, wow, nobody loves this man, nobody like him. And what I say in the article is that (expletive) is still there. But politics? I don't think it's going well with me. Because I"m not a political people.
"But everybody's upset and sad about what I say. I'm a grown man and I can take it. But I want to let them know that I apologize. But in the meanwhile, I was not talking about politics. I say I love Fidel. But they come out....they say exactly what I say.
"I can't even sleep last night. That's the first time I can't sleep at night thinking about what the day is going to be like today. As soon as I read it last night, I was sick to my stomach all the way to today. And I think coming up today, it helped me to help me go to sleep tonight after we win. I know how the Cuban people feel about this man. It's not proper for me to talk about this man. I was all over (expletive) Sean Penn because he talked about Venezuela. I shouldn't be talking about Cuba or Fidel."
QUESTION: Anybody from the team call you and express.....
Guillen: "David (Samson) just wanted to let me know yesterday. I say this is not the Marlins problem. This is Ozzie Guillen's problem."
QUESTION: "Was he angry?"
Guillen: "No, not at all. Because he read it. When you talk politics in Miami, especially about that man, you got a chance to put yourself in a (bad) position. I talk to Miami radio in Spanish about the way I feel about it. I don't blame anybody who be upset. I don't blame them a bit. I take full responsibility about it. But, meanwhile, I let the people know how bad I feel and I apologize to them.
"I don't want to (issue) a statement, because a statement is like people are hiding or something. I'm not going to read no statement either. Everything comes from the bottom of my heart. I don't need to lie to nobody because...I can sleep tonight because I got (this) off my chest."
"As soon as read that thing (article), I know exactly what I was going to go through. And I face it like a man."
QUESTION: Do you think you'll catch some backlash when you get back to Miami?
Guillen: "I hope not. Listen, I come from the same part of the country. We go through a lot of (expletive). I work for the people against Chavez in Venezuela. I mean, that's enough to say. Every paper every day I wrote against Chavez every (expletive) minute. They know exactly who I am, what I thought and what I think about Fidel and Chavez. In Venezuela, this is public what I think about it."