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Cuban baseball player’s unprecedented defection in domestic hardships (photos) | Players | Americas

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In the baseball game between Cuba and Panama on October 1, 2021, Cuban players celebrated with a high five in the fourth inning. (Photo credit: Luis Gutierrez/Norte Photo/Getty Images)

[See news from China on October 11, 2021](France-Canton RFI) U23 World CupbaseballThe match ended in Mexico last week,CubaThe team not only missed the bronze medal, it also happenedPlayerSince the hotel jumped out of the window, only about half of the 24 members in the final array returned to the communist motherland, refreshing Cuban baseball playersDefectRecord.

Cuba is in a deep economic crisis. The authorities are not effective in fighting the epidemic and restraining civil liberties, which has caused dissatisfaction among the people. Although the immigration reform in 2013 allowed people to leave the country with passports and visas, the epidemic has led to fewer flights, and the possibility of “legal departure” has been greatly reduced.

Sports reporter Francys Romero once wrote a book about the exodus of Cuban players. He told Agence France-Presse that this was “unprecedented in baseball history”.

Agence France-Presse reported today that the player who jumped from a hotel room and climbed down a palm tree to escape from the Cuban U23 team is not a precedent. Under the revolution led by Fidel Castro, the development of professional sports has been limited, and many people have embarked on the path of renegade and sought opportunities abroad.

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Cuban baseball players’ fleeing trend intensified after the disintegration of the Soviet Union; since Rene Arocha left the national team at Miami Airport in 1991 and developed his career in the United States, Cuba has had about 2 to 3 players leaving every year, even in 1996. Nine people defected.

Cuban players who left, from Livan Hernandez, Jose Abreu to Aroldis Chapman and Randy Arozarena, all played in Major League Baseball To stand out.

Romero pointed out that the number of players seeking careers in other countries has skyrocketed. Now they are younger and not all of them are destined to become major league stars. So why are they willing to take the risk?

Romero said: “(First) change their lives. Then comes sports.”

Cubans who left their home country have been criticized on social media, but most people wish them well. The people are very clear about how difficult it is to live in Cuba under the severe shortage of food and medicine.

When the Cuban baseball team went to the United States to participate in the Tokyo Olympic qualifying game earlier this year, the general Cesar Prieto, two other players and the team’s psychologist defected; in the end, the three-time Olympic champion Cuba failed to win the Olympics. Qualification is the first time in team history.

The Cuban Baseball Association executive Luis Daniel del Risco said that a “war to destroy Cuban baseball” is taking place, and he also criticized foreign recruits for “harassing operations” when the Cuban team went to other countries to play.

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Leonardo Padura, a Cuban novelist who wrote interviews with players into a book, said: “I often hear people say that the state of baseball in Cuba reflects the situation in this country.”

He said: “You have to respect the decision of these young people. This is a very complicated decision because they have to give up a lot.”

Romero said that the team holds the passport of the players, and those who fled are not allowed to return to Cuba for 8 years.

Dalisco said that the defectors “failed to fulfill their promises to their teammates and the country”, but admitted that it was “the personal decision of each of them.”

Romero believes that there is only one solution, “giving Cuban players the same opportunities as others.” Cuban players “in order to play abroad, they must give up the national team and give up being a Cuban. This is not fair.”

Original title: Cuban baseball player’s unprecedented defection and apostasy reflect the hardships of domestic survival

Source: France-Canton RFI

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