Cuba receives permission from the United States to bring MLB players to the World Classic

HAVANA – Cuba has received permission from the United States to include major league baseball players in the national team that will participate in the V World Classic.

“We have received communication from El Clásico organizers announcing that the license they requested has been granted so that the Cuban team can register Cuban athletes, whether MLB or not, who reside in the United States,” the Federation of Cuban Baseball (FCB) said in a note reiterated this Sunday by By state media in the Caribbean nation.

The V World Baseball Classic will be held from March 8 to 21, 2023 in the cities of Taichung (Taiwan), Tokyo, Phoenix and Miami (USA).

Andy Ibanez (Detroit Tigers) and Joan Lopez (New York Mets) are some of the Cubans who have confirmed their presence on the Cuban roster for the Championship.

The memorandum, signed by the president of the CBF, Juan Reynaldo Pérez Pardo, recognizes “these gestures as positive steps” and indicates that they “were the only just solution to the issue”.

“It is arbitrary and discriminatory to require permission from the United States government for the organizers of a sporting event to guarantee the participation of a country like Cuba,” the federation said.

He noted that Cuba “is not only the founder of these competitions, but also obtained its inclusion by qualifying as the rest of the 19 teams that will participate in the V Clásico.”

“It is equally unfair that the Cuban athletes, because those we are going to call up are Cubans, trained in our country and who, despite all the pressures, want to represent their people, also count on the permission of the United States government to fulfill their dream… of playing for the country that saw them born”, Perez Pardo confirmed.

He also appreciates the work of MLB and the World Baseball and Softball Federation in their role as organizers of the Classic.

Regarding the correspondence received from the competition organizers, he indicated that they would soon communicate the details of the license granted to Cuba, and in this sense FCB said that it would then announce the pre-selection of the Cuba team.

In 2018, Cuban authorities signed a landmark agreement with MLB that allows island players to sign professional contracts to play in the major American leagues without losing their island residency or ties to the federation.

This agreement was canceled in April 2019 by the administration of then US President Donald Trump, claiming that the baseball federation was affiliated with the Cuban government and violated US trade law.

At the beginning of last November, Perez warned Pardo against “pressure and harassment” against players in foreign leagues so that they would not play for Cuba in the fifth Clasico.

Baseball, which has been declared a cultural heritage of Cuba, is not going through its best moment on the island and is experiencing an unprecedented exodus of players.

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