On Sunday, as Team Cuba’s World Baseball Classic semifinal game against the United States got underway in Miami, a mixture of protesters and supporters gathered there.
Senator Marco Rubio says there have been reports that the Miami Marlins told fans not to hold up anti-communist signs during the semifinals, as the communist-led Cuban government deemed these slogans to be “offensive.”
Protests, Controversy Surround Cuba-USA World Baseball Classic Semifinal
After spending six months in a concentration camp, Jose Vilela left Cuba at the age of 14 and immigrated to the US.
He made Little Havana, Miami’s Cuban district, his home, like many of his fellow Cubans. Vilela, now 68 years old, was pacing outside loanDepot Park, the Miami Marlins’ home field, on Sunday afternoon.
This is when the Cuban national baseball team would eventually lose to the United States 14-2 in the World Baseball Classic semifinals.
The first-ever baseball game in Miami was a cause for celebration for some ex-pats who were eager to keep politics and sports apart. Vilela and many others, however, used the occasion to demonstrate against the political repression they fled from in Cuba.
Senator Rubio claims he was made aware of people trying to go to the game while donning t-shirts that said “Free Cuba” and “Cuba Libre,” which the Cuban government found offensive.
He was familiar with these people from videos and reports. Rubio also claimed those wearing such shirts were being denied entry by the Miami Marlins, who manage the stadium and are paid for by tax dollars.
I keep getting reports the @Marlins are enforcing the Cuban regimes censorship rules against U.S. citizens attending tonight’s #WorldBaseballClassic2023 game between the USA & Cuba pic.twitter.com/65UhxYQfqX
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 19, 2023
Rubio added that despite not having previously informed them of this restriction, the Miami Marlins were purportedly implementing it at the stadium. He called this situation horrible, revolting, and outrageous.
He hoped these rumors were false, but he also hoped the Miami Marlins were taking any such policy seriously.
Miami Marlins Deny Allegations of Censorship
According to conflicting reports, the stadium was either censoring messages that contained profanity or messages that were anti-communist. Los Pichy Boys, a group of Latino podcasters, seemed to support the latter.
Big anti-Casto, pro-Cuba libre protest outside of Marlins stadium in Miami #flpol pic.twitter.com/6lUrCX17vf
— Javier Manjarres (@JavManjarres) March 20, 2023
The Miami Marlins confirmed that “Patria y Vida” posters and t-shirts were allowed in the stadium, according to Los Pichy Boys, who made the announcement in Spanish via their Instagram account.
The only things that were prohibited were those that contained profanity.
In fact, during the March 19, 2023 World Baseball Classic Semifinal game between Team USA and Team Cuba at loanDepot Park in Miami, Florida, several anti-communist posters that did not contain any profanity were put up all over the stadium.
A reporter disputed this assertion in Spanish, saying they had spoken to several people who had been reportedly told posters were not permitted in the stadium.
Despite this controversy, a sizable crowd of protesters gathered outside the stadium to express their opposition to the communist Castro regime.
Compared to earlier games in the tournament, there was a noticeable increase in police presence outside the ballpark throughout the day. A group of 15 Miami police officers was seen on bicycle patrol.This article appeared in Right Wing Insider and has been published here with permission.