The Trump administration announced Friday that it canceled the December agreement between Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB) regarding player transfers that was intended to “end the dangerous trafficking of Cuban players who desire to play professional baseball in the United States.”
The agreement would violate the US embargo against Cuba, which has been in affect since 1962 and effectively prohibits the US from giving money to the Cuban government. Under the terms of the Agreement, the FCB would release players from their contract to let them sign with MLB clubs. Then, 15 to 25 percent of the player’s salary would be given to the FCB, which is controlled by the Cuban government.
Prior to the agreement, Cuban players underwent dangerous and sometimes violent conditions to get to the US to play for the MLB. In so doing, the players would also have to cut all ties to their families and homeland.
National Security Council (NSC) advisor John Bolton remarked on the decision: “Cuba wants to use baseball players as economic pawns–selling their rights to Major League Baseball. America’s national pastime should not enable the Cuban regime’s support for Maduro in Venezuela.” NSC Spokesperson Garrett Marquis said: “The U.S. does not support actions that would institutionalize a system by which a Cuban government entity garnishes the wages of hard-working athletes who simply seek to live and compete in a free society.”