FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Good morning from the Fort, a day that has special significance for the team’s Venezuelan players, who feel the need to be heard in the wake of the civil unrest in their native country.
For players like Felix Doubront and Edward Mujica, the shooting death of Genesis Carmona, a 22-year-old college student and model, struck especially close to home. Carmona was selected “Miss Tourism” in Carabobo, the Venezuelan state in which both Doubront and Mujica grew up. Doubront is from Puerto Cabello; Mujica from Valencia.
There is a heart-breaking photo of what witnesses said was Carmona’s body being cradled by a friend on the back of a motorcycle as she is being rushed to the hospital.
“My niece went to school with her,’’ Doubront said Sunday. “Everything is close—the high school, the university.
Carmona was one of at least five people reported killed last week in protests against the government of president Nicolas Maduro. As Bloomberg news reported:
"Sporadic protests have plagued Maduro's government [since he was elected last April], but the murder, in January, of a beloved television star and beauty queen, Monica Spear (along with her British husband), proved a turning point, highlighting Venezuela's status as one of the most homicide-afflicted countries on earth and sparking demands that the government protect its citizens."
The Sox have six Venezuelan players in big-league camp: Doubront, Mujica, pitcher Jose Mijares, infielder Jonathan Herrera (Maracaibo), Brayan Villareal (La Guaira) and Helker Meneses (Caracas). The team’s bullpen catcher, Mani Martinez, is also from Venezuela. They all posed with pictures with the Venezuelan flag on Monday as part of an appeal for peace back home:
— Felix Doubront (@theRealDubi22) February 24, 2014
“People think big-league players are all with the government,’’ Doubront said, “but we care most about the people.’’