It is not news that the Trump administration has canceled the agreement signed by the MLB and the Cuban Baseball Federation, on December 19, after three years of hard work by both parties.
And it is not because the agreement sought to end the human suffering of Cuban athletes.
In January of this year, the MLB, not Cuba, sent a letter to the United States government, detailing their plans and intentions with this new deal, stating that it was mainly directed toward avoiding the trafficking in persons that Cubans usually face when leaving the country and the harsh conditions they face in order to be contracted by a Major League team, citing the examples of Yasiel Puig, Yoan Moncada, José Abreu, and Yoenis Céspedes, among others.
These “harsh conditions” include the very high risk of losing one’s life to sports merchants conspiring with unscrupulous individuals engaged in illegal trafficking of persons, as happened to Puig, who was taken out of Cuba by traffickers linked to a Mexican drug cartel, according to court testimony.
These same players, born and raised in Cuba, who today fill stadiums for the so-called “show,” as U.S. baseball calls itself, celebrated the agreement, precisely so that their fellow citizens would not face what they had experienced.
When the agreement was signed, José Dariel Abreu, “Pito,” as fans in Cuba know him, told ESPN:
“Words cannot fully express my sincere joy and enthusiasm to hear that Commissioner Rob Manfred and Tony Clark have reached an agreement with the Cuban Baseball Federation. Knowing that the next generation of Cuban baseball players will not face the unimaginable fate experienced by the Cuban players who went before them, is the realization of an impossible dream for all of us. Dealing with the exploitation of smugglers and unscrupulous agencies will finally come to an end for Cuban ball players. Even now, I am still harassed. The next generation of Cuban baseball players will be able to sign a Major League contract, while in Cuba they will be able to keep their earnings like any other player in the world, they will be able to return to Cuba, they will be able to share with their families, and they will be able to practice the sport they love against the best players in the world, without fear or trepidation.”
These are the sentiments that U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton opposes. Just before The Washington Post communicated the April 5 decision, he stated that if Cuban baseball players want to play in the Major Leagues, they could escape from Cuba.
He and Senator Marco Rubio have torpedoed an agreement that baseball lovers around the world applauded, the same two who have fabricated Juan Guaidó in Venezuela, and attacked the Sandinista Revolution in the halls of the White House, under the sickly batting of Donald Trump, based on their version of the Monroe Doctrine for Latin America.
Trump’s decision puts Cuban baseball in the same position it was in February of 2015, when the Treasury Department and the MLB created the residence outside of Cuba certificate regulation, which obliged any Cuban baseball player seeking to play in the U.S. Major Leagues to sign a statement under oath, assuring that they are not members of the Cuban government, or of the Communist Party, and that they will not return to their country.
Trump’s argument is that the December agreement violates blockade laws, because the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB) is a government entity. He is lying, as he has done in his long career of fake news. The FCB is recognized as a national federation by all international sports organizations, not as a representative of the Cuban government.
Imperialism attacks baseball to attack the Revolution, knowing that the right to sports is one of its great conquests, which will not be stopped.
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