updated 19 / 03 / 2019

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A dangerous adventure

During the recent visit of the president of the National Institute of Sports and Recreation, Doctor Antonio Becali Garrido to educational centers in the province, an audiovisual material was projected that in just over 40 minutes, gathers the experiences of several players, besieged by alleged "scouts" of Major League Baseball U.S.

The work of journalist Daily Sánchez which will be broadcasted soon by the Tele Rebelde Channel, tells first-hand how is the process of recruitment and subsequent stay of athletes and their families in Central Caribbean countries, waiting for a contract that in many cases does not exist.

Although the theft of Cuban prospects is an issue that has been going on for several decades, interest was traditionally focused on those figures already established in our baseball, whose best scenario to tempt were the great events that Team Cuba attended.

In the last five years the strategy has changed, as the athletes in school and youth categories are the new point of view of unscrupulous characters, who have made this activity, a lucrative business.

The procedure, in most cases is as follows: athletes or their families, are contacted through social networks by these scouts, who after extolling the great possibilities the children have to sign an astronomical contract, send gifts to the chosen ones (cell phones, money, clothes etc.)

The next step is the departure of Cuba to a country with flexible visa regimes, the most used are Panama, Guyana or Haiti, especially the latter, from where they cross the border into the promised land: Dominican Republic.

In the soil of Cusco, the dream begins to turn into a nightmare, because the academies to which they thought they would arrive, are nothing but crowded houses in which they receive a brief amount of money from a "boss", with whom they only have contact via telephone.

The next step is to prepare for the so-called tryouts or for the exhibition tests, in which they must demonstrate their skills to the recruiters sent by the MLB franchises.

For those who successfully pass these demanding tests, then the process of signing contracts, in which many times, are forced by their representatives to give them up to 70 percent of the profits of this.

Not much better, is the luck of those players who are injured or fail to convince the recruiters, because they must remain in those countries almost as kidnapped and ingest strong anabolic substances to increase their somatotype and keep trying.

To avoid a possible escape, both, they and their relatives are removed their passports, which are at the mercy of the demands of these individuals, many of whom are facing international charges for illegal trafficking of people.

Although it may seem out of a fiction story, this is the reality of many of the Cuban teenagers and young people who have decided to leave Cuba tempted by exorbitant sums of money and the promise of playing in the best baseball in the world.

An element of embarrassment and which is beginning to be faced judicially, is the complicity in several cases of coaches and family members, who serve as a bridge between the besiegers and the athletes.

Although some of those who have left the country are over the age of majority, most of them have not done so, which shows that they have had the consent and / or encouragement of their parents.

In addition to the well-known damage that it represents for the Cuban Sports Movement, this phenomenon constitutes a danger to the physical integrity of hundreds of young people and their families.

Fortunately, many of them have returned unharmed to our country where they already work in their old teams, however, I believe it is important to continue warning about the danger that this adventure entails.

About the Author

Victor Manuel Blanco González

Victor Manuel Blanco González

Licenciado en Periodismo en la Universidad de Pinar del Río, Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca.

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