lucius_gantt_1.jpgMiami Marlins baseball manager Ozzie Guillen got into trouble recently for comments he made about Fidel Castro which got Cuban Americans in Miami-Dade County extremely upset. No one said Guillen lied but the Venezuelan-American former baseball player was suspended for his remarks.

A few years ago, Castro announced his retirement from his position as leader of the Caribbean island nation. Cuban Americans far and wide expressed mixed views at that sudden announcement which came on the heels of the fiery Cuban leader’s extended illness. Many Florida politicians were quick to disparage him, calling him a “dictator” and other less than amorous names.

To many African Americans and other people of African descent throughout the world, the end of the Fidel Castro regime has much different connotations. Blacks see Castro as a friend and somewhat of a freedom fighter.

That view of Castro stemmed mainly from his sending Cuban troops to Africa to fight alongside the Africans battling for their lives against apartheid and colonial powers in the Motherland.

When the world’s superpowers turned their heads and allowed racism and colonialism to thrive and flourish in African countries, Castro sent troops and equipment to the continent that were essential in turning Africa’s political tides.

South Africa’s Nelson Mandela has spoken very highly about Fidel Castro’s and Cuba’s contributions to African freedom. For showing his love for Castro and Cuba, Mandela was routinely booed by Cuban Americans when he visited the United States.

Castro even offered to help distressed blacks in New Orleans with medical and other support but that offer was thwarted by the U.S. government.

If you didn’t know it, Cuba has a history involving many revolutionaries and freedom fighters of African descent. Today, Cuba has a very diverse government compared to governments in Western countries. There are blacks who hold very high governmental positions right now in Cuba.

Though many of the United States’ most ardent and vocal critics of modern-day Cuba are not of African descent, black Cubans living in America oftentimes are not as hostile.

I think the people of Cuba should decide what government they want and also which government leaders they want, just as we are deciding whom we want as government leaders in the United States right now.

How long will Americans try to influence or decide who runs the governments and countries around the world? Interference in the affairs of Cuba is no different, to me, than interfering in Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, Lebanon, Grenada, Palestine, Libya, Egypt or anywhere else.

I can understand why some Cuban Americans seek to have a distinguishable change in Cuban politics and/or government. They certainly have a right to disagree with the status quo.

However, as far as Fidel Castro goes, I ain’t mad at him. Plus his country puts out some pretty good boxers, baseball players and track and field stars.

May the best political philosophy win this battle of ideologies.

Lucius Gantt is a consultant based in Tallahassee and author of the book Beast Too: Dead Man Writing. He may be reached at, where you can also like The Gantt Report Facebook page.

Photo: Lucius Gantt