Brin-Jonathan Butler

Quotes: Brin-Jonathan Butler

Quotes 1 till 15 of 42.

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  • Brin-Jonathan Butler
    Brin-Jonathan Butler
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    'What comes next?' is the constant question I'm asked by outsiders eager to travel to the island. During the eleven years I traveled to Havana, very few Cubans I met on the island ever bothered to verbalize this question.
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    Brin-Jonathan Butler
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    A profoundly disturbing thing you discover very quickly traveling in Cuba is that the most dangerous person for Cubans isn't the police or even the secret police; it's their neighbor. Anyone can report you for anything 'outside' the revolution - even if you haven't done it yet.
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    Ali vs. Stevenson would have served as a symbolic battle between the United States and Cuba, capitalism and communism: Castro's values instilled in his boxers pitted against the values of 'merchandise' boxers from the rest of the world.
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    An offer to fight Muhammad Ali came after Stevenson won his second Olympic gold in Montreal in 1976. Stevenson was at his peak. The world had never seen a heavyweight with the tools Stevenson brought into the ring.
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    Anyone can see why an elite athlete would want to leave a small, impoverished country where their skills were effectively uncashed winning lottery tickets. All they had to do was wash ashore almost anywhere else in the world and cash in. Yet the vast majority of Cuban boxers - and Cuban athletes in general - despite that incentive, stayed.
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    At a certain point, Mike Tyson and I reacted to violence a little differently. I was afraid to leave my house for three years while he became the heavyweight champion of the world. The thing was, at first, we reacted to it the same way, and our cowardice and trauma defined us.
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    Both for Havana's beauty and decay, it's very hard to restrain yourself from staring everywhere you look.
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    Boxing distills and illuminates the essence of an athlete. There's nowhere to hide. Boxers live and perform at the extremes. They provide us with answers about a given contest, but more important, they ask us fundamental questions about human narratives. What does this person really stand for? How far will he go to defend it?
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    Bullfighting is every bit as ghoulish and savage as its critics warn, but it is equally as powerful and moving as its supporters insist. Perhaps the most vexing aspect about it is that neither group is wrong: they are both telling the truth.
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    Castro always used the boxers as a symbolic war against American values to demonstrate that they fight for something more than money.
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    Castro branded Rigondeaux a 'traitor' and 'Judas' to the Cuban people.
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    Castro was always using his athletes as a way of symbolically defeating the United States in the ring, and after these Cubans defeated Americans in the ring, they were turning down exorbitant sums to leave the island.
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    Brin-Jonathan Butler
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    Cuban athletes represent the most expensive human cargo on earth. They are sitting on over a billion dollars of human capital if these boxers and baseball players would come over to any other field or ring in the world and begin to ply their trade.
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    Cuban eyes often look close to tears. Tears never seem far away because both their pain and their joy are always so close to the surface.
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    Exploring Castro's pawns in Cuba and exposing anything negative also makes you a pawn to all his enemies 90 miles away. Both sides don't have much of a track record for nuance of opinion.
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