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In Mexico: Police foil escape of Cuban baseball players

Updated on 06/18/2022, 05:09 p.m

  • Mexican police prevented the escape of two Cuban baseball players during the Pan American Under-23 Championship in Aguascalientes.
  • The human rights organization Amnesty International criticized the actions of the authorities.
  • Because of the severe economic crisis and the lack of professional opportunities, Cuban professional athletes keep withdrawing from international competitions.

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Mexican police prevented the escape of two Cuban baseball players during the Pan American Under-23 Championship in Aguascalientes. The players were picked up and taken back to the team hotel, the police in the central Mexican state said on Saturday night (local time). Alfredo Fadraga Pérez and Yosvani Ávalos Ruiz are now being sent back to Cuba, the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB) said.

Amnesty International criticizes Mexican police

The human rights organization Amnesty International criticized the actions of the Mexican authorities. “The police have some explaining to do about the arrest of two Cuban athletes and their handover to the authorities in Cuba, the country from which they tried to flee to seek international protection, as thousands have done,” wrote regional chief Erika Guevara Rosas on Twitter.

Baseball is the national sport in Cuba. However, the socialist-governed Caribbean island keeps losing promising talents who hope for well-paid professional contracts in the USA. Over the past few decades, dozens of players have fled to the United States and pursued careers in the MLB pro league.

Athletes from Cuba keep fleeing

In 2018, MLB and FCB agreed that Cuban players could play in the USA without fleeing Cuba. The MLB teams should therefore pay transfer fees for the players to the FCB. Shortly thereafter, however, then US President Donald Trump declared the contract illegal.

Because of the severe economic crisis and the lack of professional opportunities, Cuban professional athletes keep withdrawing from international competitions. At the U23 baseball world championship in Mexico last year, twelve of the 24 Cuban players left the team. Just a few days ago, four karatekas left Guatemala. (dpa/okb)

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