Not to defend Ozzie, but he probably meant that he admired in a way how Castro had managed to survive all those years, not that he liked what he had done to his people. Ozzie says stupid things, and this one was as stupid as could be; an apology, clarification and five- game suspension sounds like a reasonable reaction.
As for calling a reporter a “fag,” he didn’t mean that the guy was a homosexual. The offensive slang term in Spanish for homosexual, “maricón,” is used in many places (including, I guess, Venezuela) to describe not just homosexuals, but someone who is a coward, or a weak person, or generally to insult someone. Just like someone in the U.S. might call someone a fag if he doesn’t want to dive into a swimming pool, or describe something “lame” as “gay” (which the NBA believes is the biggest human-rights problem in America), a Venezuelan might refer to a reporter who writes lies about him as a “maricón” even if he knew him to be heterosexual. And Ozzie translated it into “fag,” and all hell broke loose. Again, I’m not defending Ozzie’s behavior, just explaining that his “mistranslation” explanation is actually correct in a sense.
I agree that's probably what he meant. That's what I took away when I read the comments the first time. I wouldn't have gotten bent out of shape about it but then again Castro didn't imprison my family nor do I have a stake in Marlin ticket sales.
I would go further as to say even if he was a Castro-lover and communist he would have every right to his fool opinions, just as the Marlins have every right to punish or fire him if his comments hurt the team.
As for calling a reporter a fag, he didnt mean that the guy was a homosexual
Absolutely, the South Park episode "The F word" speaks about this. And he was 100% right, the appearently heterosexual Jay Mariotti is perhaps the biggest fag/maricon to ever be a sports writer. That doesn't stop the gays from screaming that it's "homophobic" to use those words in those contexts (they are probably used much more in those contexts than as a purley anti-gay slur).
However I don't buy any of his alleged difficulties with the English lanaguage. I think he knew what he was saying both times and was probably blato both times.