Pitching coach for Cuban national team joins 3 other players, defects in Puerto Rico

The great exodus from Cuban athletics continues as the pitching coach for Cuba’s national baseball team escapes slavery and defects in Puerto Rico, joining three other players who did the same last week (see HERE and HERE). The Castro dictatorship is labeling Andres Garcia as a deserter after he disappeared after the 5th Caribbean Baseball Cup and never boarded the flight back to communist Cuba.

Via CubaNet (my translation):

Pitching coach Andres Garcia defects from the Cuban team after the Fifth Caribbean Cup

Andrés García, the pitching coach for the Cuban baseball team that recently clinched victory in the 5th Caribbean Cup, did not return to the island with the national delegation. Garcia’s departure marks the latest defection according to Cuban authorities, of a prominent figure in the sports scene of the largest of the Antilles.

The news was revealed on the Facebook page “Tigres Avileños.” Similarly, the page “Por la Goma” disseminated the information and alluded to various speculations about García’s decision.

The coach’s defection adds another note to the statistics of Cuban baseball which, despite winning its first title in almost a decade, has witnessed the departure of four of its key figures during the last two consecutive international tournaments: the Champions League of the Americas and the 5th Caribbean Cup.

Recently, Yobanys Millán Blanco parted ways with the team prior to his return of the Alazanes de Granma team from Yucatán, Mexico. Shortly after, during the Caribbean Cup, pitcher Franky Quintana chose to defect, while Osday Silva and Yeudis Reyes, outfielder and pitcher respectively, decided not to return with the team after the victory.

García represents the 54th defection in Cuban sports in 2023, and although the tenth month of the year has not yet concluded, the numbers are dangerously close to the 62 defections recorded in 2022.

Recently, the spokesperson for Cuban official media, Joel García, acknowledged the occurrence of nine defections in just 15 days and criticized the alleged lack of values among athletes who choose to leave their team: “The training focused solely on building muscle for winning medals has developed holes in educational and value-based formation, characteristic of all economic and ideological crises.”

The escalation of departures due to harsh training conditions and the lack of compensation for athletes, among other reasons, has directly affected the Cuban sports system, which has seen a decrease in its ranks, especially among young talents in the sport of baseball.

The situation is not limited to those who have chosen to defect, but also includes those who have decided to emigrate, both through regular and irregular means, in search of future opportunities in other nations.

With the proximity of the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, Cuban authorities acknowledged that 78 athletes have severed ties with the National Institute of Sports, Physical Education, and Recreation (INDER) in 2023, leaving a palpable void and challenge for Cuban sports authorities.

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