THE THEFT OF CUBAN BASEBALL TALENT

beisbol-cubanoWhy do they claim that Cuban players “escape Communism” to go play in the Major Leagues in the United States, when the new Cuban sports and immigration policies allow these athletes to play as professionals in any country in the world?  Manuel E. Yepe. Cuba News. A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann. October 13, 2014

THE THEFT OF CUBAN BASEBALL TALENT

The attempt to attribute a political motive to the theft of talent from Cuban sports by describing this international crime as an anti-communist exodus adds cynicism and cruelty to a criminal abuse poor countries have faced from time immemorial.

Why do they claim that Cuban players “escape Communism” to go play in the Major Leagues in the United States, when the new Cuban sports and immigration policies allow these athletes to play as professionals in any country in the world?

The Cubainformación website, based in Spain and directed by Basque journalist José Manzaneda, recently explained how the singular theft of Cuban baseball talent works.

The ascent to the majors for applicants in the United States is basically through college teams. It starts with the system known as “drafting” which is a register where applicants enroll. This register regulates the contract and wage relationships governing the links of the players to the teams and unions. Four years later, the players can
leave the “draft”. Some (if they stand out with exceptional skills in the sport) become “free agents” who can negotiate big contracts by themselves.

As a rule, Latin American players (excluding Cubans), are formed in
schools that US teams have created all over Latin America. Being
just kids, they sign contracts with the clubs which invest in their
training and are tied to the terms of the economic conditions that
will govern their future in U.S. professional baseball.

The U.S. Treasury Department [not the Cuban government –klw] prohibits Cuban baseball players from signing with an American club if they maintain residence on the island and/or have links with the Instituto Cubano de Deportes Educación Física y Recreación (INDER) [Cuban Sports Institute].

The Cuban Adjustment Act, enacted by the United States in 1966 to
promote the theft of talent in all fields and to feed the propaganda
campaign against Cuba, states that any Cuban who reaches U.S.
territory by any means, even if as a result human trafficking,
automatically gets a work permit and residence. But this law alone is
not enough for the theft of great Cuban baseball stars in the terms
required by major traffickers.

The mechanism in place for baseball big business to get a Cuban
baseball star to play in the Major Leagues usually begins with a trip
of the player to another country. This country cannot be the United
States or Canada, because in any of these two countries he would have
the obligation to integrate into the “drafting” system, which would
reduce his economic prospects.

Residing in Haiti, the Dominican Republic or Mexico, as a supposed
“free agent,” a representative of the baseball player negotiates on
his behalf with the “scout” of the interested team. The main corporate
media complement this cynical game by publishing news of alleged
“escapes” or “getaways” as if the freedom of contract and player
movement were restricted by Cuba and not by the United States.

The rules currently in place in Cuba provide that when a foreign team
or baseball sports organization is interested in acquiring the
services of a Cuban baseball player, it should settle the terms
through the Cuban Baseball Federation. This has been done by
organizations from other countries which already have Cuban athletes
and technicians on their payrolls.

However none of the thirty U.S. Major League baseball teams has used
this route; and the very small number of Cuban baseball players in
their ranks had to place themselves in the hands of the
internationally illegal human traffickers with its cohort of “coyotes”
and gangsters.

Cuban baseball, as Cuban sports in general, is based on dignity,
honesty and decency. It is is undoubtedly at a disadvantage compared
to the squalor which characterizes commercial relations applied to
sports. Cuba has tried to circumvent these disadvantages, though not
always successfully.

Some of the prohibitions with which Cuba has tried to protect the
purity of its sports have proved unsustainable in a globalized world
 with rules and procedures imposed by large capitalist
consortia. so the island has been forced to replace them with
others more consistent with international trends, provided these
changes do not violate the principles which characterize the political
and social system the Cuban people are building.
Algunas de las prohibiciones con que Cuba ha tratado de proteger la
pureza de su deporte han resultado insostenibles en un mundo
globalizado con reglas y procedimientos impuestos por los grandes
consorcios capitalistas y la Isla se ha visto obligada a  cambiarlas
por otras compatibles con las tendencias internacionales cuando ello
no viola los principios que caracterizan al sistema político y social
que construye el pueblo cubano.

Nothing should prevent Cuba and the United States to expand their
collaboration in the field of baseball, a big favorite sport among the
public in both countries. And there are many things that can be
settled without wars, drones, or bombs.

One comment

  1. Dear Editor,
    I found this article very interesting, allot of which I did not know. I live in NYC, I am interested in traveling Cuba and capturing some images for my ongoing photographic documentary
    “Where baseball is Born” the subject matter is essentially what this documentary is all about.
    I will send you the website for your review. Please forward email so I can send you more info, Any interest from any of your staff would be appreciated. Thank you,
    Howard Krupa

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