Two Cuban Athletes Under the Age of 20 Flee in Mexico and Nicaragua

The baseball player Miguel Neira escaped before this Wednesday’s match against Panama, in Managua. (X/@francysromeroFR)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, November 29, 2023 — The escape in Mexico of María Carla Pérez, a Cuban player of Basque pelota, and that of pitcher Miguel Neira in Nicaragua both occurred this Wednesday. They are the most recent of the stampede that hinders Cuban sports. With these desertions, there are now 69 athletes on the Island who have abandoned their official delegations, according to journalist Francys Romero.

Pérez, a member of the U-19 national team, took advantage of her stay in Mexico, where the Basque pelota, U-22 World Cup was held, to escape. The young woman, a resident of the province of Villa Clara, was one of the stars of her specialty last year, during the National Youth Championship held in Guantánamo.

The regime has not yet pronounced on these departures. “Unfortunately, the Island’s authorities seem to care little about the desertions of high-performance athletes,” said Swing Completo magazine. “No matter when, how or where, abandonments continue to be day-to-day news in Cuba. And so it will continue…,” the sports publication said ironically.

The escape of the Villa Clara athlete in Mexico came several days after the bronze medalist in the Central American Games in weightlifting, Elizabeth Reyes Entenza, escaped in Guadalajara (Jalisco), shortly before her presentation at the Paradero Sports Center, where she was to participate in the 192-pound category in the Youth World Championship.

Athlete Maria Carla Pérez left the Cuban delegation in Mexico. (X/@francysromeroFR)

Hours after Pérez’ escape in Mexico, journalist Francys Romero reported that Miguel Neira, one of the players of the Cuban team that participates in the U-23 Pre-World Cup tournament, had also escaped. The young left-handed pitcher of Los Gallos de Sancti Spíritus, had played a prominent role in last Sunday’s match in the pre-World Cup, in which his team beat the Curaçao national team 5-1.

Neira, 19, was on the list of the Cuban team that this Wednesday faces Panama in the U-23 pre-World Cup tournament, held in the Panamanian capital. According to the reporter, “he left the hotel where they were training at noon.”

“I classified Neira as the number 3 prospect on my list of the 25 best under-18 talents of 2022,” Romero recalled, affirming the talent of the player from Sancti Spíritus.

These escapes add to the list of 14 athletes who stayed in Chile after the Pan American and Parapan American Games. While their request for refuge is resolved, 11 of these athletes already have a temporary visa, which has allowed them to train and look for employment in the South American country.

Translated by Regina Anavy 

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