Fidel Castro is one of history's vilest thugs, a murderer of an untold number of Cubans, driving many more into exile and enslaving even more up to today. No defense or prosleytizing on his behalf is acceptable.
This, however, is America, the land of the free and of free expression. Except for the rare instance -- you can't yell "fire" in a crowded movie theater if there is no fire; and government officials can't reveal top secrets -- you can say whatever you want, you can be an ass as big as Ozzie Guillen, without fear you will suffer the same fate as Cubans under Castro face who try the same.
But the right of free expression is not exercised in a vacuum but in marketplace of ideas, where some ideas gain traction, where others are forgotten, where others are ridiculed and where others get you punished, as your fellow citizens digest what you said and react. As long as it is not the government, which is limited in its ability to censor by the First Amendment, determining the outcome of the back and forth, the right of free expression is preserved and strengthened as some ideas gain force and others are tossed aside.
Which is why it would be just, even the right thing to do, for the Miami Marlins to punish Guillen for singing Castro's praises in a recent interview.
In the marketplace of ideas, Guillen has already been rejected and ridiculed and excoriated for ignoring -- willfully, it seems -- more than 53 years of history and praising a man that only the devil could love. His attempt at an apology -- I am sorry if I hurt your feelings -- only made it easier to pile on Guillen.
That Guillen said what he said as manager of the baseball team in the American city with the most intimate knowledge of Fidel Castro's record makes him deserving of another consequence.
From a practical standpoint, as well as in the name of what is right, the Marlins must fine or suspend Guillen to demonstrate that his statements were his own and did not represent the views of a team trying to re-establish itself in its hometown -- and to pay off the debt on a brand new stadium.
And then donate the money to a worthy cause dedicated to absolving history of Castro's legacy forever.
For more on why Guillen must be punished, read this piece by USA Today's Tom Weir, whose wife and in-laws are Cuban.