HAVANA TIMES — Two pitchers from Villa Clara were suspended indefinitely from Cuban baseball after an attempt to escape the island two weeks earlier, states the local Vanguardia newspaper.
Lefty Yasmany Hernandez and righty Diosdany Castillo were most likely hoping to reach another country and then begin the process of trying to get signed by a US Major League Baseball team, like dozens of Cuban players in recent years.
Both pitchers were on Villa Clara’s 2012-2013 league championship team.
Under the US embargo on Cuba, the island’s players, with residence in Cuba, cannot sign a contract with a MLB team. Instead, they must risk leaving Cuba illegally, which often implies risking their lives at the hands of people smugglers who charge hefty fees, to get them to Haiti, Honduras, the Dominican Republic or Mexico, among other countries.
Villa Clara provincial baseball commissioner Jorge Luis Carvajal told Vanguardia that the suspension occured after a “serious indiscipline”. It was the newspaper that made it clear that such a wording means getting caught in an illegal escape attempt.
In cases like this, in baseball and other sports, the athletes, having their careers ended by the Cuban authorities, see their only alternative to continue trying the illegal exists until they are successful.