In Cuba, it’s safe who can in baseball

This is nothing new, but it is a record: half of a Cuban baseball team took advantage of competition in Mexico to flee the island and the crisis.

Cuba's baseball team returns from World Cup with half of its players, record number of defections

This is not a first, I have already told you about it here, but this time, it says a lot about the phenomenon. That of desertions, in Cuba. Which affects the national sport, baseball. An agreement was signed between the Cuban regime and the United States in 2018, under the Obama administration, to allow the big American baseball league, the MLB, to recruit Cuban players and thus allow them to leave their homes. island legally. But Donald Trump went through it and canceled everything the following year. 

And stories worthy of the Fidel regime that we no longer thought to read, are again topical

This time, it concerns the Under-23 team, which has just returned from Mexico, where they went to play in the world baseball prospect. They had left at 24, but they did not return to Cuba … until 12. Half of the players deserted. One of them sped off as soon as he arrived at the airport in Mexico. Another jumped straight out of his hotel room window, on the 2nd floor, grabbed a palm tree, before joining a car waiting for him downstairs! 

On the return to Havana, Cuban television cameras awaited the delegation, led by Luis Daniel del Risco, the treasurer of Cuban baseball, in tears. For him, it is a «war», against those who attract young people in their nets:   

Luis Daniel del Risco denounces the «harassment» of foreign recruiters, who are more and more numerous, more and more pressing, also, with the players. Calls, messages, requests from relatives, also visit hotels, on the sidelines of a competition. 

Regularly since the Cuban revolution in 1959, which abolished professional sport, two to three players leave the island illegally each year to pursue a career in the United States. But 12 players who defected suddenly. This is unheard of for Cuban baseball.  

Why has the phenomenon amplified?   

Already because Cuba is currently undergoing its worst economic crisis in 30 years. With severe shortages of food and medicine. But also because the profile of the players has changed. Before, it was really the very best, those destined for a great career, who took this risk. To leave with nothing. Without money, without a passport.