Cuba Denies Contacts with Mexican Professional Baseball Team

Higinio Velez. Foto:

HAVANA TIMES — The Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB) today denied having contacts with representatives of the Mexican professional club Cañeros of the Monchis, which supposedly came to the island to scout Cuban players.

“We have not had any contact with agents of any professional team,” said the president of the FCB, Higinio Velez, reports dpa news.

The announcement comes nearly two months after the island authorized its players to sign with professional teams overseas under specific conditions.

In recent days the arrival in Cuba of several executives of Cañeros of the Monchis, of Mexico’s Pacific League, had been rumored, in order to “observe and sign” Cuban players ahead of the 2013-2014 season in Mexico noted Prensa Latina.

Cuba banished professional sports a few years after the triumph of Fidel Castro’s revolution in 1959.

In recent times, however, the island has taken steps to partially resume participation in professional sports, for example by joining this year’s semi-pro World Series of Boxing of the International Amateur Boxing Association.

In July, the FCB authorized the signing of baseball players on the island to professional clubs abroad with the aim of “inserting Cuban baseball in the world.”

Shortly afterwards the Cuban authorities allowed the signing of Alfredo Despaigne, Michel Enriquez and Yordanis Samon by the Mexican team Campeche Pirates .

Velez said the incorporation of new Cubans to professional teams is temporarily suspended.

“The possible inclusion of Cuban players in professional leagues is deferred to a later date as we analyze the experiences of the presence of Cubans last season on the team Campeche Pirates”, Velez told Prensa Latina.

In June, Cuba announced its return in 2014 to the Caribbean Series baseball tournament after a half century absence. The Cubans had dominated the event until they retired in 1961.

The abolition of professional sport in socialist Cuba favored amateur competitions enhanced to make the island an Olympic power in various disciplines.

In contrast, many Cuban boxers, baseball players and other athletes often take advantage trips abroad to defect and seek to build a future as professionals.

Under President Raul Castro the island is immersed for years in a gradual opening process that incorporates elements of a market economic model to one marked by decades of state monopoly.