Published: Tue, April 09, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Trump’s latest victim - Major League Baseball

Trump’s latest victim - Major League Baseball

MLB teams would have paid the federation a release fee for each Cuban player signed, providing a windfall for Cuban baseball, which has suffered from dwindling budgets and the defection of its best players.

The agreement originally was brokered to allow Cubans to play in the United States without defecting and giving up their citizenship.

"By rescinding the agreement, which is similar to ones America enjoys with the Japanese, Chinese, and Korean baseball leagues, Cuban players who wish to join an American team from here on out must now actively defect-a unsafe process in which people must essentially abandon their lives and family in order to come to the USA -as was the case of the Cincinnati Reds' Yasiel Puig", Splinter News explained.

This process would have all but negated the human-trafficking aspect of the unsafe terrain Cuban defectors have had to face in order to play Major League Baseball.

At the time, Major League Baseball said the deal was allowed by amendments to the Cuban Asset Control Regulations of March 16, 2016, that established the provisions of a general license from the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. The Trump administration said that "a payment to the Cuban Baseball Federation is a payment to the Cuban government", according to a Treasury Dept. letter to MLB. Some of those players were expected to be signed and playing this year. It says the federation falls under the Cuban Olympic Committee, which in turn reports to the International Olympic Committee, not the Cuban government.

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'To know future Cuban players will not have to go through what we went through makes me so happy, ' he said in the statement.

Cuban MLB players who had defected include Yasiel Puig of the Cincinnati Reds, Yoenis Cespedes of the New York Mets and Jose Dariel Abreu of the Chicago White Sox - all of whom have signed multi-year, multimillion-dollar contracts.

Back in December, the MLB and players association reached an agreement with the federation to allow Cuban athletes to play in the league without having to defect. Younger players would have needed Cuban baseball's permission to leave.

'Words can not fully express my heartfelt joy, ' Chicago White Sox All-Star first baseman Jose Abreu said in a statement. The players would also have to pay Cuban income tax on foreign earnings. To this date, I am still harassed'.

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