The Cuban under 23 baseball team returned to Havana on Monday with half the players: 12 of the 24 athletes took advantage of the trip to Mexico for the World Cup and defected. A record.
A sports journalist specializing in baseball based in the United States, Francys Rimero, tweeted the news: “The World Cup finished third and 12 returned to Havana, that is half of the athletes who started. The Under 23 World Cup. was won by Venezuela, “it will remain in the memory as the World Cup defections”, added the author of a book on the history of the emigration of Cuban baseball players. In recent years, Cuban sportsmen have escaped during competitions. but they had never reached these proportions.
The last record dates back to 1996, when five players had defected to Mexico.
Upon arrival at Havana airport, the vice president of the Institute of Sports Raul Fornés presented his congratulations to the 12 who returned home. “Come back with your head held high and keep fighting and being Cuban players.” An online sports newspaper then published a statement from the players who returned home: “We returned with the satisfaction of having been faithful and we are grateful for the signs of affection and support we have received”.
Defections are the Achilles heel of Cuban baseball, athletes are attracted by much higher US wages.