Monday, July 16, 2018
Sports

In Cuba, let's open door for human rights

And so there is baseball in Cuba, and it's all the rage.

All the cool kids were in Havana: President Obama, Derek Jeter, and Florida's own Tampa Bay Rays. Even Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are Havana Daydreaming, coming down for a Rolling Stones concert this week.

Richards will have a lot in common with those '55 Chevys still in working condition in Cuba. All dinosaurs who have survived.

Still, the euphoric rush escapes me. Color me ambivalent.

It's all highly personal. My family fled Cuba in 1961 when I was just a toddler. We weren't immigrants. We were exiles. Big difference.

My family didn't come to Florida for the wonders of Disney World and Publix. We fled to escape an iron-rule dictatorship where speaking your mind can get you killed. Ask any dissident who has been jailed, if President Raúl Castro allows you to see them.

He had the gall to tell a foreign reporter this week, "What political prisoners? Give me a name or names." Then his pants caught on fire.

Two things are worth noting beyond Tuesday's box score (Rays 4, Cuba 1):

1. Raúl's regime rounded more than 50 protesters — mostly women — on Sunday and threw them in prison.

2. A few days earlier, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship picked up a raft of 18 Cubans, who had fled the Communist island on a 30-foot boat. Not everybody made it to the ship. Nine died at sea. Those who survived were in bad shape.

Like a lot of other Cuban-Americans, I am in-step with Obama on easing restrictions and opening doors to this isolated paradise. The embargo is a joke, for all practical purposes. "If you do something for 50 years and it doesn't work you have to do something else," Obama said during the game.

Lifting the embargo will lift the curtain off the Castro's royal scam: Uncle Sam is a bogeyman and a diabolical capitalists who hates his Cuban neighbors. Blame him for your problems. Our failed corrupt Communist reign has nothing to do with that.

If baseball can be used as a conduit for change, that is great. But I would respectfully ask President Obama that beyond the pomp and circumstance, and the fastballs and curves, there is much work to be done regarding Cuba's deplorable record on human rights.

Please don't forget the human collateral and sacrifice. Don't forget those thrown in prison on trumped up charges, those who have been executed, and persecuted. All of this the handiwork of the Castro brothers.

So please forgive me if I have no Sympathy for the Devil(s). I'll bust a move if Jagger dedicates the song to Raúl and Fidel.

— Orlando Sentinel (TNS)

Comments
Tampa Bay Times’ all-North Suncoast baseball team

Tampa Bay Times’ all-North Suncoast baseball team

Player of the Year: J.P. Gates, Sr., Nature CoastPitcher of the Year: Gunnar Hoglund, Sr., FivayCoach of the Year: Frank Vitale, Nature CoastIn his fourth season as Sharks head coach, Vitale led the team to its first Class 5A state tournament. Nature...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay Times’ all-Hillsborough County baseball team

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Hillsborough County baseball team

Player of the Year: Connor Scott, Sr., PlantPitcher of the Year: Franco Aleman, Sr., AlonsoCoach of the Year: J.J. Pizzio, LetoPizzio led the Falcons to their first state tournament appearance since 1970. They were 24-5 and did not lose a game in Cla...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays conclude surprising first half of season

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Rays conclude surprising first half of season

A walkoff loss on Sunday is the Rays' third in four games to the Twins and brings the first half of the season to a close. The team enters the All-Star break a surprising two games over .500 but will be without All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos for ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay Times’ all-Pinellas County baseball team

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Pinellas County baseball team

Player of the Year: Matheu Nelson, Sr., Calvary ChristianPitcher of the Year: Nolan Hudi, Jr., Calvary ChristianCoach of the Year: Greg Olsen, Calvary ChristianAfter a perfect 30-0 season in 2017, the Warriors were clearly the team to beat this seaso...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Live from SEC media days: Five stories to follow

Live from SEC media days: Five stories to follow

ATLANTA — Good morning from SEC media days, the unofficial kickoff to college football's preseason.The four-day event begins later this morning with commissioner Greg Sankey's address at 11:30. A few things I'll be monitoring over the next...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Hulk Hogan returns to the WWE after a three-year suspension

Hulk Hogan returns to the WWE after a three-year suspension

Hulkamania can again run wild in World Wrestling Entertainment.Three years after Hulk Hogan became persona non-grata within the professional wrestling organization that he helped make the largest in the world, the WWE announced on its website Sunday ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome falls in playoff at LPGA Marathon Classic

Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome falls in playoff at LPGA Marathon Classic

Times wiresSYLVANIA, Ohio — Brittany Lincicome could have been forgiven for looking ahead. But that didn't appear to be a problem.The Seminole resident took Thidapa Suwannapura into a playoff, falling on the first hole Sunday in the LPGA Marath...
Published: 07/15/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Twins game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Twins game

There are times when Rays OF Carlos Gomez looks lackadaisical, but he made an urgent dash in from rightfield to near the mound when the benches first cleared and was ready for any action. Reminiscent of Jonny Gomes in '08.The loss is still what matte...
Published: 07/15/18
Rays journal: Twins grand slam ends heated game

Rays journal: Twins grand slam ends heated game

MINNEAPOLIS — That the Brian Dozier walkoff grand slam in the 10th inning that beat the Rays 11-7 was only part of the drama probably tells you all you need to know about Sunday's 4½-hour plus roller coaster ride, which included two benche...
Published: 07/15/18
Rays lose hot-tempered game to Twins 11-7 on walkoff grand slam

Rays lose hot-tempered game to Twins 11-7 on walkoff grand slam

MINNEAPOLIS – The Rays didn't have quite enough fight in them Sunday.Brian Dozier hit a walkoff grand slam in the 10th inning to give the Twins an 11-7 win in a back-and-forth and hot-tempered game that sent the Rays into the All-Star break at ...
Published: 07/15/18