Home Run Propaganda and the World Baseball Classic

Hurray for the Cuban team. Down with the Cuban team.

By Matraca (El Toque)

HAVANA TIMES – Attention baseball fans and political analysts! In the fifth World Classic, the Cuban team has hit the diamond with a power swing and a steel glove. But not everything is fun and baseball, as the Government and the Cuban officialdom have taken advantage of the situation to turn it into a true show of political propaganda. Wow, they figured out how to take advantage of the speed of the pitchers to launch political messages!

The cartoons that Matraca brings today reflect the face of the propaganda. On the mound is the Cuban government juggling the victories of the national team and wanting to use the players as puppets to distract the people from their real problems.

In the batter’s box are the fans who have noticed something stinks in the stadium. It is not the smell of hot dogs or popcorn, but of a political strategy that seeks to cover the sun with a glove. They denounce that the Cuban team and some of its members who play in foreign leagues are being used as a front, cleaning the face of the Cuban Government and distracting the population from the repressive actions, the tense economic crisis and human rights violations.

In the world of social networks, reality and the media, the Cuba team and its foreign players have been caught in the middle of a baseball game with a political twist. Will they be able to emerge victorious and return the focus to what really matters: love for sport and respect for human rights?

Cuba’s participation in the fifth World Classic is not just a matter of a baseball competition, it is a game of power and politics that is played on a diamond full of surprises.

I was hoping for a little rice and beans besides the…
July 11th
Good play, champ!

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times

3 thoughts on “Home Run Propaganda and the World Baseball Classic

  • Bob Michaels:

    If you think that baseball or any sport that Cuba participates in on an international stage has no obvious political overtones, you are extremely naïve regarding Cuban/Western relations.

    To begin, all one has to do is read HT’s article dated March 19, 2023 entitled “Cuba Plays USA in the WBC Semifinals: Baseball & Politics” which clearly reads: “All of Cuba’s political institutions, from the president to the Foreign Ministry, extending to all the ministries, have taken the performance of the squad very seriously, which exceeded all expectations, but that could be tarnished if the setback is against the United States.”

    It’s all about perceived political dominance. On the baseball field it’s all about one political system being superior to an adversarial political system. It’s all about bragging rights. Mexico versus Japan – that is an ordinary baseball game with no politicizing evident. Or, Canada vs. US – just a baseball game.

    One only has to observe Cuba’s history regarding sports after the 1959 Revolution. Castro and his communist party elites spent horrendous amounts of money in their sporting programs be they baseball, volleyball, boxing, high jumping, track and field, you name it. Why? The Cuban athlete, a prop of the communist propaganda machine, was to show case to the world how dominant and superior communist Cuban athletes were vis-à-vis their capitalistic counterparts, particularly those professional athletes living in the US, and especially during an Olympic year.

    Any Cuban athlete – by the way, a state owned resource – winning a gold metal for Cuba was treated as a political hero on the island. The Cuban athlete had no need to worry about his/her economic future because Fidel Castro ensured the athlete was well taken care of. The Cuban athlete belongs to the state and any athlete who wins and dominates over a Western rival is worthy of divine status and admiration. A communist symbol to be treasured, adored, and politically exploited to the world, if need be.

    Politicizing sport has always been a weapon of communist regimes everywhere in the world. Russia, China, and other extreme communist/socialist states have always made sport a political propaganda machine. Winning is everything and as we have seen through out the sporting world athletes either overtly or covertly using banned drugs in order to get the upper hand to the gold medal podium. Yes, all countries are somewhat guilty of cheating, but not as egregious as say Russian athletes.

    When it comes to baseball, particularly a rivalry between Cuba and the United States the game is politicized. How can it not be? The rivalry and animosity between the two countries is so great that any type of competition – even darts no doubt – will be instilled with some form of political drama.

    Cuba, in this current baseball competition, lost handily but what if Cuba had won? Do you think the present totalitarian, communist power brokers would have sat back and not said anything? Hardly. There would have been a collective, commendatory, celebration on every street corner bought and paid for by the communist regime’s propaganda machine. And rightly so from their perspective.

    Every avenue of superior indulgence would have been prominently displayed to ensure everyone in Cuba and the world knows that the communist/socialist totalitarian system is far superior than the adversarial capitalist one across the waters. And that is what the Cuban baseball players were playing for either directly or indirectly. Unfortunately for Cuba, the wanted win was not realized.

    Baseball between Cuba and the United States will always be politicized because the game, particularly to those Cuban communist elites in power allows them an avenue of sporting self aggrandizing which of late has been very, very little.

  • I must say that I saw nothing overtly political in Cuba’s participation in the WBC.

    I certainly am no supporter of the Cuban government but have a stronger conviction about not bending the truth to make a political point.

  • I am waiting to see how the Castro dictatorship plans to propagandize the shellacking the Cuban team received from Team USA which eliminated them from the tournament. Worse yet, it took place in Miami.

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