Cuban Baseball Player Defects After Loss to USA in World Baseball Classic
A Cuban baseball player defected to the United States following the World Baseball Classic in Miami this week.
Ivan Prieto Gonzalez served as the bullpen catcher for Team Cuba before the team suffered a major defeat by Team USA, losing 14-2 on Sunday night. Following the semifinals, Gonzalez did not join his team at the Miami International Airport as they headed back to Havana, Cuba. Prieto joined an ongoing list of athletes that have defected from the communist country to join the United States. Per Fox News:
The decision by Prieto to defect from Cuba is one that many baseball players have done before him. MLB is riddled with players who found a way to get over to the United States in order to live out their dreams as a professional baseball player, as Cuba still does not allow it to happen.
A famous instance was Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, who rose to fame with the New York Yankees during their dynasty run in the late 1990s-early 2000s. He was banned from the Cuban national team following the defection of his half-brother, Livan Hernandez.
Today, players like Jose Abreu, Aroldis Chapman, Yordan Alvarez, Randy Arozarena and more, are among MLB stars who defected from the Communist country. Arozarena also begged Team Mexico to allow him citizenship to play for them instead of his home country, as he initially defected there before beginning his journey in the U.S.
Team Cuba returned to Havana with a warm welcome and a sincere congratulations from Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel.
“Congratulations admirable #TeamAsere,” Canel wrote on Twitter. “You’ve won three times: when you teamed up, when you ranked first, and when you played to the last out against a great team and hate of the worst kind. They made history. #Cuba looks at them proudly.”
¡Bienvenido nuestro #TeamAsere! El sueño no se ha acabado, el sueño empezó ahora y ustedes lo han hecho posible. pic.twitter.com/R6Oopbnkbu
— Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (@DiazCanelB) March 20, 2023
As Breitbart News reported on Sunday, swarms of protesters denouncing the communist Castro regime were outside the stadium letting their voices be heard. Reports were varied as to whether or not the stadium managed by the Miami Marlins allowed visitors to brandish anti-communist signs during the game itself.
Big anti-Casto, pro-Cuba libre protest outside of Marlins stadium in Miami #flpol pic.twitter.com/6lUrCX17vf
— Javier Manjarres (@JavManjarres) March 20, 2023