Cuba’s Villa Clara Loses Two Pitchers

Yasmany Hernández Romero y Diosdany Castillo no volverán a vestir la casaca naranja tras una "indisciplina grave".
Yasmany Hernández Romero y Diosdany Castillo no volverán a vestir la casaca naranja tras una “indisciplina grave”.

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.

6 thoughts on “Cuba’s Villa Clara Loses Two Pitchers

  • July 6, 2014 at 6:38 pm
    Permalink

    “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.”

    IF the Castro oligarchy would let these players travel to Mexico, Dominican Republic there would be NO PROBLEMO! Is always “The Bad Old Embargo” who causes ALL of Cuba’s problems!

    Reply
    • July 6, 2014 at 7:59 pm
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      More specifically, the embargo precludes MLB from contracting with INDER, the Cuban sports ministry. Cuba refuses to allow its baseball players to play in the US without obliging them to pay the Castros 20% of their contract. As a result, Cuban athletes must defect in order to play ball in the US.

      Reply
    • July 8, 2014 at 8:30 am
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      So, a Cuban player who was playing on a team in Mexico was banned from playing DUE TO THE US EMBARGO, because the team is owned by the MLB. So, I guess your solution of “letting the players leave the country” is a bit simplistic. There is also a Cuban playing on a team in Japan. No problem in Japan… again, it is the embargo that is the problem…which sometimes leads to strange policies in Cuba.

      Reply
  • July 7, 2014 at 2:33 am
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    More proof that shows that those that claim Cubans can now travel freely is a lie.

    When the unnamed author says that they “must leave illegally” he is wrong to blame it on any US law. it is Cuban law that prevents them from just getting on a plane to Miami as they please to take up residence there and join a US team.

    Get the facts straight.

    Note:

    The Penal Code also defines the crime of salida illegal del país, “illegal exit from country.” Under Penal Code Articles 216 and 217, those caught trying to leave the country without the permission of the government can be fined or imprisoned for up to three years if they have not used violence and up to eight years if force or intimidation is used. In cases where passenger vessels or airplanes are hijacked, the charge is usually one of piratería, “piracy.” Under Penal Code Article 117, piracy carries a penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment, or a possible sentence of death if there is loss of life or risk to the lives of others.

    Reply
  • July 8, 2014 at 8:24 am
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    Why don’t they just buy a ticket on an airplane like everybody else?

    Reply
  • July 10, 2014 at 10:32 pm
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    Although I have already entered it on another blog, I shall repeat the experience of one Ron Hayter.
    In 2006, Ron Hayter a baseball enhusiast and at that time a member of the City Council of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada was responsible for organizing an international baseball tournament. The day following the arrival of the Cuban team, four of them defected. The very next day, Ron Hayter when in his office, received a personal telephone call from then President Fidel Castro Ruz. Castro remonstrating with Hayter about the defections to which Hayter responded that Canadian law gave protection to political refugees and that it was not himself but the Cuban authorities who selected the Cuban team.
    President Fidel Castro Ruz hung up!
    In 2012, Hayter organised an international baseball tournament for women and Cuba entered. On the first day following arrival one of the team defected and two days later two more. Hayter waited in vain for a call from President Raul Castro Ruz who perhaps had learned from BIG brother being the biter bit!

    Reply

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