EFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 26 December 2022 — Cuba has received a permit from the United States that will allow it to include baseball players who play in the Major Leagues (MLB) in the national team that will participate in the Fifth World Classic.
“We have received a communication from the organizers of the Classic in which they announce that the license requested by them was granted so that the Cuban team can register Cuban athletes, whether from the MLB or not, who reside in the United States,” the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB) reported in a note published this Sunday by state media.
The Fifth Baseball Classic will be held from March 8 to 21, 2023, in the cities of Taichung (Taiwan), Tokyo (Japan), and Phoenix and Miami (United States).
Andy Ibáñez (Detroit Tigers) and Yoan López (New York Mets) are some of the players who confirmed their presence on the Cuban payroll for the tournament.
The note signed by the president of the FCB, Juan Reinaldo Pérez Pardo, recognizes “these gestures as positive steps” and points out that “it was the only fair solution to the issue.”
“It is arbitrary and discriminatory that a permit from the United States Government is needed so that the organizers of a sporting event can guarantee the participation of a country like Cuba,” says the federation.
Remember that Cuba “is not only the founder of these competitions but also earned its inclusion by qualifying like the rest of the 19 teams that will participate in the Fifth Classic.”
“It is equally unfair that Cuban athletes, because those we are going to convene are Cubans trained in our country and who, despite all the pressures, want to represent their people, also depend on an authorization from the US Government to fulfill their dreams of playing with the country that gave birth to them,” Pérez Pardo said.
He also appreciates the work of the MLB and the World Baseball and Softball Confederation in their role as organizers of the Classic.
Regarding the communication from the organizers of the competition, he says that they will soon report on the details of the license granted to Cuba and, in that sense, the FCB said that it will then announce the pre-selection of the Cuban team.
In 2018, the Cuban authorities signed a historic agreement with the MLB that allowed Island players to sign professional contracts to play in the US Major Leagues without losing their residence on the Island or their link with the Federation.
That agreement was annulled in April 2019 by the administration of the then-US President, Donald Trump, claiming that the Baseball Federation belongs to the Cuban government and violates US trade law.
At the beginning of last November, Pérez Pardo warned that “pressure and harassment” were being exercised against players in foreign leagues so as not to play with Cuba in the Fifth Classic.
Baseball, declared a Cultural Heritage of Cuba, is not experiencing its best moment on the Island and suffers an unprecedented exodus of players.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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