Trump administration cancels MLB-Cuba deal

Trump administration cancels MLB deal with Cuba

Trump admin targets MLB's ability to recruit Cuban players

The senior Trump administration official suggested that the agreement would have subjected the players to "human trafficking" by the Cuban government and made them "pawns of the Cuba dictatorship".

Under the four-month-old agreement, a major league club seeking to sign certain Cuban players would have to pay a release fee - 25 percent over the player's signing bonus - to the Federation. U.S. President Donald Trump has long vowed to tighten regulations on Cuba that were eased during his predecessor's administration, a process that has taken on added urgency as the White House seeks to punish Cuba's government for its support of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Younger players were required to get the Cuban Baseball Federation's blessing to play for MLB teams.

Cuba's national youth baseball pitcher Oscar Hernandez warms up before a friendly game against Japan at the Latinoamericano stadium in Havana, Cuba, December 19, 2018.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio tweeted that the Cuban government essentially wanted "legalized trafficking of persons" in the accord with Major League Baseball.

Rubio tweeted Monday, "Because #Cuba regime doesn't allow them to travel freely the only way Cuban baseball players can make it to @MLB is to escape".

"In essence they want legalized trafficking of persons".

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Ben Rhodes, the official from Obama's National Security Council who led the U.S. -Cuba relations restoration, called the new approach by the White House "cruel" and said it "serves no objective". "For me and a lot of our fellow Cuban players who have already established ourselves here in this country, we're fortunate enough to have our families here".

The agreement reached in December between MLB and the Cuban Baseball Federation was the culmination of more than three years of negotiations.

"We stand by the goal of the agreement, which is to end the human trafficking of baseball players from Cuba". "We believe that this agreement accomplishes that objective and will allow the next generation of Cuban players to pursue their dream without enduring numerous hardships experienced by current and former Cuban players who have played Major League Baseball". It included the stories Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu, Yoenis Cespedes, Leonys Martin and Yunel Escobar, which were stories that the deal was supposed to end.

The basis for the U.S. government's argument here is that, since Cuba is single-party communist state with no real private sector, any financial support provided to their baseball apparatus qualifies as financial support for the authoritarian regime run by President Miguel Diaz-Canel and First Secretary Raul Castro, according to documents obtained by ESPN.

The American League consists of the following teams: Baltimore Orioles; Boston Red Sox; Chicago White Sox; Cleveland Indians; Detroit Tigers; Houston Astros; Kansas City Royals; Los Angeles Angels; Minnesota Twins; New York Yankees; Oakland Athletics; Seattle Mariners; Tampa Bay Rays; Texas Rangers; and Toronto Blue Jays. Others abandoned the Cuban national team while playing overseas. An earlier try in 2008 was foiled, and Chapman was kept off Cuba's team in the 2008 Olympics. Last week, the Cuban federation announced the first list of players who would be authorized to play under that agreement. Look no further than the stories of Yasiel Puig or the late Jose Fernandez for the harrowing and risky journey it can be to get to the US.

"The biggest impact is going to be the guys who are back in Cuba", Chapman said. It really doesn't affect us here. There were many potential problems with the new rights transfer system that had been negotiated, but it did at least hold out the hope of all but halting the human trafficking that lies at the heart of the present state of affairs.

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