MLB/Cuban Baseball Federation Reach Accord To End Embargo On Cuban Baseball Players

On December 19th, Major League Baseball, the Major League Players Association and the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB) reached an accord that would put an end to the dangerous and illegal trafficking of Cuban players to the U.S. by international criminal organizations. For over 50 years there has been an economic embargo on Cuba which was eased significantly by President Obama in 2014 via executive actions that opened the door for this agreement which took over two years to negotiate.

Prior to this agreement, Cuban players who wanted to play in the U.S. would have to defect and pay large sums of money to criminal organizations such as drug cartels to smuggle them out of the country so they could either apply for political asylum in the U.S. and obtain residency or obtain residency in a third country and apply for a U.S. work visa at a U.S. consulate in that country. Players that have made this journey have testified to the extremely dangerous travel conditions and the extorsion and threats to their families they experienced if the smugglers did not believe they had been paid all of the agreed fee. Furthermore, they could never go back to Cuba to see their families.

This new agreement mirrors similar agreements with Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, the Korea Baseball Org