Sports

Trump Administration Nixes Deal Between MLB, Cuban Baseball Federation

Trump Administration Nixes Deal Between MLB, Cuban Baseball Federation

Major League Baseball's front office responded with a letter, claiming the current deal was the best way for young athletes to avoid human trafficking.

"President Donald Trump is a golf guy, not a baseball guy".

The letter from OFAC to Major League Baseball came in the immediate aftermath of the Cuban federation's releasing its first group of players able to sign contracts directly with MLB organizations, with the understanding that some could be playing in the US this year. The change again will require Cuban players to cut ties with their national program before signing.

A senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said in a briefing that the agreement itself was a form of "human trafficking" by the Cuban government and that the Cuban Baseball Federation is a subsidiary of the Cuban government. In this case, though, the dollars were destined not for a foreign ballclub, but for Cuba's government-run governing body, the aforementioned Cuban Baseball Federation. This is not just factually incorrect it is a farce & I am working to get it overruled as soon as possible. This is an excellent piece that describes why the deal between regime in #Cuba & MLB is both illegal & immoral.

"The pressures applied by these political figures led to the cancellation momentarily of an agreement that was backed by the majority of the USA society and identified as a formula to eliminate harmful practices such as human trafficking", added the statement from the FCB. Under the agreement, Cuban players may return to the island during the off-season, unlike those who defect.

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The deal with Cuban was tendered by the Obama Administration and solidified only previous year. White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu said in a statement released by Major League Baseball in December that he is still harassed by smugglers.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said MLB's payments to Cuba was more like a "ransom", and that the island nation wants "legalized trafficking of persons".

The Cuban federation also agreed to release all players 25 and older with at least six years of professional experience to be classified as global professionals under MLB's labor contract with the players' association and not subject to worldwide amateur signing bonus pools.

"The agreement with #MLB seeks to stop the trafficking of human beings, encourage cooperation and raise the level of baseball", the organization said. "Any contrary idea is false news. Attacks with political motivation against the agreement achieved harm (to) the athletes, their families and the fans", the Cuban Baseball Federation told CNN.

The administration pushed back, accusing the Major League Baseball of entering into an agreement that would essentially "institutionalize human trafficking" with the Cuban government since the government would receive a portion of future contracts. 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.