HAVANA, Cuba, August 28, 2013, Michel Iroy Rodriguez / www.cubanet.org.- The ballplayer Jonathan Machado Tarrago, nicknamed Suzuki, age 14, who was stolen base leader in games held in Taipei, China in July 2011, will not be allowed to participate in the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, as the son of a regime opponent. It is expected that he will also be suspended from the World Cup to be held in Mexico next year.
Yonatan Tarrago Machado was suspended from participating in games by State Security, because he is the son of Antonio Machado Ramirez, a political opponent of the regime.
His mother, Ana Maria Tarrago Ruiz, a resident of 80th Street between 49th and 51st, in the Havana municipality of Playa, says she feels hurt and that the measure is stupid. «They want to destroy the future of my son because of our political position,” she said.
Her son has played baseball since he was 5. When he was 8 he was eligible to play in the age 9-10 category, with a 300 batting average. He was batting above 300 in his first year in the age 11-12 category. The following year, when he joined the City of Havana team, he was already batting 489, but he was not allowed to be on the Cuba team. After several efforts by his coach, Jorge Mazorra, he joined the team to travel to Taipei, China, where he led with 13 stolen bases and a 615 average. Even then, his speed from home to first base of 7.7 seconds, and he had 22 hits and more than 24 stolen bases.
In 2012 he was again chosen by the Cuban baseball commissioner, who told his parents that due to his high performance in the leadoff spot he would be taken to the Pan American Games in 2015.
When Machado Tarrago was suspended from the Pan American Games, the teenager assigned to his place had much lower stats: 13 hits and 3 stolen bases.
«The Cuban government feels it has the power to destroy the future of any young person. It mistreats, humiliates and destroys whomever it pleases. It believes it is the owner of all Cubans, entitled to decide who will become something and who will not. And then they complain that young people want to leave Cuba. It’s not just because of economic problems that they go,» said Ana Maria Tarrago, the mother of this promising baseball player.
29 August 2013