Trump administration cancels MLB-Cuba deal

Trump administration cancels MLB deal with Cuba

"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", he tweeted.

According to the Post, a Trump administration official said that the payments were equal to "human trafficking" by the Cuban government. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, in December, called the deal "both illegal and immoral".

The move means danger for Cuban baseball players hoping to make it to the big leagues.

"But for those guys that I mentioned before, it's going to be tough, because now the opportunity's being taken away, and some of them still want to play here at this level".

John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser, tweeted Sunday, "Cuba wants to use baseball players as economic pawns - selling their rights to Major League Baseball".

Many professional baseball players have been outspoken about their struggles getting to the U.S. Cleveland Indians outfielder Leonys Martin was kidnapped in Mexico on his way to the U.S., while Cincinnati Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig was arrested during one of his defection attempts.

"It's a humanitarian issue for these Cuban players and their families", Rhodes said.

While such risky escapes were mostly eliminated with greater travel freedoms, players still needed to cut ties with Cuban baseball and often their families and hometowns, going years without returning after signing with the major leagues. Some of those players were expected to be signed and playing this year. Last Wednesday, the CBF released the names of the 34 players eligible to sign minor-league contracts.

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Cincinnati Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig, Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu and New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes are among the top Cuban players now in the Major League Baseball.

After announcing the agreement in December, blowback in Washington prompted Major League Baseball to outline in a 10-page letter its argument in favor of the agreement.

Under the agreement, ballplayers who met certain age and experience criteria could be signed by Major League Baseball teams.

Chapman defected from Cuba in 2009 while with the Cuban national baseball team in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and signed with the Reds in 2010. An earlier try in 2008 was foiled, and Chapman was kept off Cuba's team in the 2008 Olympics. It's definitely hard for a lot of Cuban players who are not playing at this level here in the States.

"We are unsure of the next steps", an Major League Baseball source said. 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. It really doesn't affect us here.

The Trump administration's rescinding the deal comes as the Cuban government continues backing the regime of Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro, who has a stronghold on the South American country after claiming victory in the latest election. Since then, the Maduro regime has cut off humanitarian aid, electricity and humanitarian supplies to most of its residents who haven't defected.

Former Obama official Ben Rhodes lashed out at the Trump administration's decision saying the move is "cruel and serves no goal", adding that it is a "humanitarian issue" to allow Cuban players to play in the Major League Baseball.

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