Football fans in the United States and Canada were not happy about expressions of sorrow and solidarity over the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The San Francisco 49ers and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were both subjected to boos and Bronx cheers for their words about the late communist.
 
Two days ago and hours before the news of Castro’s death emerged, Miami Herald sports columnist Armando Salguero published an article entitled “Unrepentant hypocrite Colin Kaepernick defends Fidel Castro.” It was based on an interview with Kaepernick, who has become infamous for his refusal to stand silently at attention during the playing of the national anthem at football games. Salguero asked Kaepernick for his reasons for wearing a t-shirt depicting the famous meeting of radical Malcolm X and Fidel Castro soon after the Cuban Revolution. 
 
When Kaepernick dodged questions about why he denounces oppression of black people and other minorities in the United States while celebrating Castro, who is known for his murder of opponents and serial human rights abuses, Salguero chose to persist. Kaepernick praised Malcolm X for having an "open mind" by meeting with the Cuban strongman, and was equally approving of Cuba’s school system, even while he excused the separation of families in Cuba due to imprisonment and exile even while citing high rates of incarceration of black people in American prisons. 
 
When Kaepernick took the field today in Miami, Kaepernick was subjected to condemnation and boos from the crowd in Miami. He later offered an excuse in a post-game press conference that he had been trapped by a "false narrative" and that he did not mean to endorse state-sponsored terror. 
In Toronto, the Canadian Football League was holding the Grey Cup -- an equivalent to the Super Bowl -- where Liberal Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued some recorded "Go CFL!" remarks. The remarks were not greeted warmly. On the day before, Trudeau released a statement about Castro that many interpreted as inappropriate and fawning. At the game between the Calgary Stampeders and the Ottawa Redblacks. Canadian channel TVO host Steve Paikin heard the fans' disgust over Trudeau's eulogies of the late dictator. Palkin tweeted last night, "Well that was interesting. @JustinTrudeau video before the game gets loud boos @bmofield. Guy behind me says 'Castro was a dictator!'" 
 
 
Trudeau warmly eulogized Castro as a "remarkable leader" and a “legendary revolutionary and orator” in a statement. “While a controversial figure, both Mr Castro’s supporters and detractors recognised his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante,” he said. “I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba.”
 
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a Cuban-American, said Trudeau’s remarks were “shameful and embarrassing” and asked whether the statement was a joke. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said Trudeau’s statement was “disgraceful” and accused the prime minister of “slobbering adulation” of Castro. 
 
Trudeau’s tribute to Castro gave rise to the Twitter hashtag #TrudeauEulogies. On Twitter posting read, “Today we say goodbye to Mr Mussolini, the former Italian prime minister best known for his competent train-management."

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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