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Ozzie Guillen came to the United States from Caracas, Venezuela as a 16-year-old baseball player, built a career around the game, and then, in 2006, on his 42nd birthday, he became a U.S. citizen. Now 57, Ozzie still gets choked up when talking about that day in January 2006 when he passed his citizenship test and was sworn in by a judge as a new United States citizen.
“It’s special,” Guillen said Sunday with tears in his eyes during an interview on the White Sox Pre Game Live show.
“People, they don’t know how hard that is. How many people die … How many people want to be American. It’s [an] honor for me,” Guillen added.
When asked by the show host why he was so emotional, at first Guillen claimed he didn’t know, but then it all came to him.
“Opportunities, man. Opportunity opened the door for me and have been great. I’ve been living in this country for a long time, me and my family — at a great cost. It opened the door for them to be who they are,” Guillen said.
“I’m a very tough guy, but seeing that, I know how it means to me and my family.”
Guillen’s life as an American citizen has included two incidents that the lefties want you to know about. One was in 2012 when the then-Miami Marlins manager made comments about Fidel Castro to a Time Magazine reporter.
“I love Fidel Castro. … I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that (expletive) is still there,” Guillen said at the time.
He later clarified his Castro stance, saying he was interpreted incorrectly because the interview was done in English.
“What I was trying to say is that a person who has been in power for so long and has hurt so many people can still be in power,” Guillén said.
“I’m not blaming the journalist, I’m blaming myself.”
Guillen, who has said things that have infuriated pretty much every segment of U.S. society at one point in his life, once went after Sean Penn for his infatuation with Hugo Chavez. That was after a moment in 2005 when Guillen said, “I like the man” in reference to Chavez, but “I don’t like his ideas, I don’t like the way he is, and some misunderstand what I want to say, like they always do.” During that interview, Guillen went on to say, “What I say about Chavez, I say I like the man because he works hard, he says what’s on his mind and he loves his country.”
By 2011, Guillen was hammering Sean Penn and Chavez.
“Sean Penn. if you love Venezuela, please move to Venezuela for a year. . .But rent a house in Guarenas or Guatire to see how long you last, clown. . .Can I say what I think about him? He is a loser,” Guillen tweeted.
While Ozzie has had his moments with microphones, it feels like 57-year-old Ozzie now sits in his recliner and is completely at ease with himself and what it means to have his citizenship and the life he made in this country. Ozzie knows the dumps that are out there and it’s clear there’s nowhere he’d rather spend the rest of his life than right here in the States, the greatest country in the world.
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