n recent decades the game of baseball has truly become an international sport with Latin American players leading the way.
In an attempt to make the path for Cuban players a little smoother when signing to play in Major League Baseball in the U.S. The MLB Players Association had a proposal that would allow the players to directly sign contracts with MLB teams.
On April 8, the current White House administration announced an end to the deal which will require the players to sever any ties with their Cuban team before being allowed to sign an MLB contract.
The deal – which is similar to those with China, Korea, and Japan – offered the Cuban Federation a fee to release a player so that the player could join a team in the United Staes. The deal was struck after two years of negotiations under the Obama administration who tried to ease the 60 year Cuban embargo.
More than just providing Cuban players a direct route to the MLB, the deal allowed players a safe passage to the U.S. free of dealing with defection, isolation from family, and human traffickers who often required exorbitant fees for unsafe passage to the U.S.
National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said, “the U.S. does not support actions that would institutionalize a system by which a Cuban government entity garnishes the wages of hard-working athletes who simply seek to live and compete in a free society. The administration looks forward to working with MLB to identify ways for Cuban players to have the individual freedom to benefit from their talents, and not as property of the Cuban state.”
Cancelation of the deal is the latest move by the current administration to eliminate all policies and laws passed during the eight Obama administration.
The Cuban Baseball Federation responded to the canceling of the deal via Twitter saying, “the deal with Major League Baseball is an attempt to stop human trafficking, encourage cooperation and elevate the level of baseball. The politically motivated attacks on the deal hurt players, their families, and fans.”
In the week prior to the deal being cancelled, the Cuban Baseball Federation had released its first group of 34 players.