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Trump Wants Major League Baseball to Wade Into Cuban Politics

Baseball-mad Cuba has long supplied Major League Baseball with talented baseball players who defected to achieve their dream. Figures such as Orlando Hernandez, Livan Hernandez, Yaisel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes and Aroldis Chapman have become stars after leaving their home country. In an effort to make the process safer, the MLB and the Cuban Baseball Federation struck a deal that allowed players to move to North American teams without defecting.

Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

In a crushing blow to the Cuban players and the sport of baseball in general, the Trump administration cancelled that agreement. The President, though, has said that he might revisit the decision if the MLB will pressure Cuba to end their support of Venezuela.

Trump met with Major League Baseball Commissioner, Rob Manfred, on Monday and the two almost certainly discussed the idea. According to a White House source, “The administration will continue to hold the Cuban regime accountable for its direct role in the trafficking of its citizens from the island.”

The source then got specific about how the White House and the MLB could help each other. “The administration looks forward to finding productive ways to work with MLB to help the people of Venezuela, a country that has a rich history with MLB but has been destabilized by Cuba’s interference,” said the White House official.

Experts are wary that an arrangement like this could work out. John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, said, “They’ve added elements to the resolution process, and the elements they’ve added are incredibly difficult for MLB or governments to resolve in the short to medium term. Anytime that an issue gets linked to what is happening to Venezuela or how Cuba is connected to Venezuela, turn off the lights, and read a good book.”



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