Why Cuban baseball players defect. What happens to Cubans who stay behind and try to live their lives with dignity. Holding the Castro regime and their enablers accountable.
In the year 2000 PBS broadcast the documentary “Stealing Home: The case of contemporary baseball” . It was produced and directed by by Robert Anderson Clift and Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky and attempted to give the Cuban government the benefit of the doubt in the debate over defectors. The Economist in the June 8, 2018 article “Why athletes vanish: Sportsmen frequently use international competitions as opportunities to leave their home countries for good” reported that ” athletes have long used competitions as an opportunity to escape war, poverty or repressive dictatorships.” In the same article they pointed out that “countries including Cuba and North Korea have been known to keep their athletes under surveillance to avoid losing entire teams.” When athletes are spied on by their governments to prevent them escaping then one should understand that they are living under a dictatorship, and they are not free. Cuba in 2021 is not a free country and that is why “César Prieto, a 22-year-old infielder, [defected from] the Cuban National Baseball Team while it was in Florida, participating in an Olympic qualifying tournament”, according to USA Today.
The question too often left unasked is “what happens to those Cubans who stay behind and try to live as free persons?”
The human rights NGO Race and Equality reports that “Yandier Garcia Labrada was detained on October 6, 2020, after protesting against problems with the distribution of food in Manatí, Las Tunas. After being detained, he was held incommunicado for approximately a month, during which time he suffered beatings at the hands of security forces which left him with an immobilized arm. He has still not received any medical attention, despite this injury and his severe asthma.” Yandier Garcia Labrada, who is a member of the Christian Liberation Movement, a nonviolent dissident movement, continues to be jailed in “El Típico” prison for nearly eight months without any charges presented against him.
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