The US government has blocked an agreement signed in December so that Major League Baseball (MLB) could hire Cuban baseball players because it believes that it benefits the Cuban Executive, and not the players, reported several sources to Efe on Monday. .
Last Friday, the Department of the Treasury communicated to the MLB in a letter a legal change that makes apparently unfeasible the application of the agreement negotiated during three years by the Major Leagues and the Cuban Federation of Baseball (FCB).
The Treasury explained in its letter that it had decided to invalidate a decision taken by the government of former President Barack Obama (2009-2017) and that allowed major leagues to pay a release fee to the FCB to hire Cuban baseball players, he told Efe. a source aware of that contact.
The Executive of Donald Trump has decided to stop considering the FCB as an entity independent of the Government of Cuba, as Obama did to overcome the restrictions derived from the embargo on the island and thus allow the payment of fees to the Cuban federation for the contract to the players.
"The United States does not support those actions that would institutionalize a system by which a Cuban government entity reaps the salaries of hard-working athletes who simply want to live and compete in a free society," the spokesperson for the National Security Council told Efe. of the White House, Garrett Marquis.
"The government wants to work with the MLB to identify ways in which Cuban players have the individual freedom to benefit from their own talent, and not as property of the Cuban state," the spokesman said.
In a brief statement sent to Efe, the MLB defended "the objective of the agreement, which is to end the trafficking of people of the players of Cuba."
The arrangement was negotiated for three years and sought to offer a "safe" path to Cuban baseball players so that they could play hired by the 30 American professional teams, and then return to the island without losing residence in their country of origin.
For years, several young talents of Cuban baseball put their lives at risk to reach the US border. or other countries with the dream of becoming stars in this sport.
The new US policy "It's cruel and meaningless, this is a humanitarian issue for Cuban players and their families," Obama's deputy national security advisor, Ben Rhodes, told NBC News.
Under the agreement, the FCB undertook to release all players with at least 25 years of age and 6 or more years of experience in the National Series of Cuba to sign for major league clubs; and last week the Cuban federation announced that 34 players had already been released for that purpose.
The measure is part of a general hardening of Cuba's policy, as John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser, put it in a tweet on Sunday.
"Cuba wants to use baseball players as economic pawns, selling their rights to the Major League Baseball." The national pastime of the United States should not contribute to the Cuban regime's support for (Venezuelan President, Nicolás) Maduro in Venezuela. " wrote Bolton.