Franky Quintana, a pitcher for the Cuban national team, has escaped communism and slavery to the Castro dictatorship, defecting during the Fifth Caribbean Baseball Cup in Puerto Rico. Quintana adds to the mass exodus of Cuban sports competitors, becoming the 51st Cuban athlete to defect this year.
Baseball player Franky Quintana defects from the Cuban team in Puerto Rico
Baseball player Franky Quintana, a pitcher for the Cuban team, left the island’s delegation participating in the Fifth Caribbean Baseball Cup in Puerto Rico, as reported by sources close to baseball journalist Francys Romero.
Quintana, a native of the Isla de la Juventud, was in Cuba’s preliminary roster for the Fifth World Baseball Classic and took part in the tour of Asia with the team.
With Quintana’s departure, the number of Cuban athletes in 2023 who have decided to break their commitments with the country’s authorities now totals 51.
In this regard, officials from the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education, and Recreation (INDER) stated on Tuesday that the migratory crisis experienced by the island has affected Cuban sports and its performance in international events.
“The migration of athletes and coaches has affected us. 109 athletes stopped being with us in 2022, and in 2023, 78, many of them with commitments to the Pan American Games,” stated José Antonio Miranda, Director General of High Performance at INDER, during the Mesa Redonda program, which was dedicated to Cuban participation in the upcoming Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile.
Like Franky Quintana, several athletes recently severed ties with the Cuban regime’s sports system. It was revealed this week that baseball player Yobanys Millán left the Cuban team he traveled with to Mexico to compete in the First League of Baseball Champions, held from September 28th to October 1st, 2023 in Yucatán.
At the end of September, the young volleyball player José Gómez left the national under-21 team that participated in the Final Six Pan American Cup, held in the city of Edmonton, Canada.
Likewise, hammer thrower Yasmani Fernández deserted the island’s delegation traveling to the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in August. During a stopover in France, the athlete separated from the team.