Half of the U-23 baseball team returns to Cuba after 12 defections

Half of the U-23 baseball team returns to Cuba after 12 defections

In the tournament held in Mexico, where they obtained fourth place, half of the selected Cubans abandoned the concentration

The Cuban baseball team who achieved fourth place in the III U23 World Cup disputed in Mexico He returned to Havana this Monday with only half of the team members, after twelve players fled during the tournament.

Of the 24 baseball players that made up the Cuban U-23 team, half left the concentration, which represents the largest collective desertion of a Cuban sports team in recent times.

The local sports authorities congratulated those who returned to the country, whom they thanked for having remained “faithful,” according to a tweet from the Cuban Baseball Federation.

“We are proud of the attitude that you maintained,” declared, for his part, the first vice president of the National Sports Institute (Inder), Raúl Fornés, upon receiving the delegation.

The director of Inder told the players that “despite the difficulties they faced, the many pressures and the dirty game they were the center of, they knew how to raise the flag and fight with determination.”

A statement from the island representation published on the sports portal Jit denounces “the activity of the traffickers who contaminated the competition venues” and affirms that it is directly supported by the annulment of the agreement signed by the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB) with the Major League Baseball (MLB) in 2018.

Likewise, it maintains that the cancellation of that pact “closes the doors to the safe and orderly insertion” of the island’s baseball players in that circuit, and considers that it conditions them to undergo “humiliating and discriminatory treatment” that implies giving up their nationality and risk their lives.

This exodus of players has been the largest of a Cuban team abroad.

Cuban sports authorities condemned the desertions and blamed the United States Government for them, as well as urging athletes to leave the country to become professionals and join Major League Baseball.

The agreement between the FCB and the MLB was negotiated for three years and sought to offer a “safe” way to the island’s players so that they could be inserted under contracts in the 30 American professional teams, without losing their residence in their country of origin.

That agreement that was finalized during the administration of US President Barack Obama (2009-2017) was seen with approval and as the way to end the continuous exodus of young talents from Cuban baseball.

But after his arrival at the White House, the administration of former President Donald Trump (2017-2021) decided to annul the pact.

Last June, there were other defections from the island’s baseball, those of pitcher Lázaro Blanco and second baseman César Prieto, participants in the Americas Pre-Olympic tournament played in stadiums in Florida (USA).

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