A Chicago restaurateur says former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen's "love" of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro rankled him to the core.
"That hurts. Especially from somebody that is not Cuban and has not lived the way we have. It really hurts. It's a blow to us," said Alberto Gonzalez, who owns both the Logan Square and Roscoe Village locations of the 90 Miles Cuban Cafe.
Gonzalez's restaurants pay homage to the Cuba he was forced to leave and travel the 90 miles to Key West for freedom and safety.
Guillen on Saturday apologized for the remarks he made in an interview with Time magazine where he said he loves Castro and respects him for staying in power so long.
But Gonzalez abhors Castro and everything for which he stands.
"He represents a tyrant. He represents a person who took advantage of his people. He has a country living on welfare, and what has he done for the Cuban people," said Gonzalez.
It was June 13, 1980 when Gonzalez, at age of 11, and eight of his family members became a part of the notorious Mariol Boat Lift. Stuffed onto a shrimp boat with 200 people, they survived a stormy night at sea, almost dying on the open water amid turbulent waters.
Before taking off for the USA, his father refused to let his kids eat for two days, for fear they’d get sick on the boat and draw the attention of Cuban authorities who might remove them from the ship.
Gonzalez slammed Castro for forcing him to miss out on his childhood and move to a foreign land, and he said Guillen should have known to choose better language, given his years of living in South Florida. He said it'll be up to the Marlins to decide what happens to Guillen and whether he should be dismissed.