Cuba’s Fleeing Athletes

Some of the Cuban players who escaped in 2021 during international championships. (Collage)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 28 December 2021 — It was going to be a quiet championship, without the great prominence of adult tournaments, but the under-23 world cup held in Mexico became the greatest disaster in the entire history of Cuban sport with the escape of nothing more nor less than half the entire team.

The squad was made up of 24 players, but since they set foot in Mexico, they fled one by one until 12 were gone. Geisel Cepeda, Loidel Chapellí Jr., Yandi Yanes, Bryan Chi, Miguel Antonio González, Yeinel Zayas, Luis Dennys Morales, Uber Mejías, Dariel Fernández, Loidel Rodríguez, Reinaldo Lazaga and Diasmany Palacios joined the list of young people who left the Island.

Added to the seriousness of the situation was the fact that, weeks before leaving for Mexico, the coach, Eriel Sánchez, had declared that sporting attitude, which he was in charge of, was added to others when choosing the athletes. The players were patriots, he said, a quality that is not in doubt, except in the sense that the manager said it.

The loss of 50% of the team, which played out under the watchful eye of the international sports world, was attributed by the Cuban authorities to the alleged evil arts used by the United States to encourage the emigration of talented ballplayers.

But the massive flight of Cuban players began months earlier, when at the Baseball Pre-Olympic held in Florida, second baseman César Prieto , and pitchers Lázaro Blanco and Andy Rodríguez left the island’s delegation .

In 2017, shortly after US Major Leagues reached an agreement with the Cuban Baseball Federation to establish contracts for the island’s players in the neighboring country, then-President Donald Trump broke the pact.

The island does not forgive the loss of foreign currency that the agreement would have resulted it and since then it has not stopped labeling the measure of “player robbery” without observing the responsibility of the regime when the elite of the sport bleeds every time they board a plane.


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