Trump ends MLB/Cuba Baseball Deal


Photo Credit: Washington Post

Brandon Barr, Sports Editor

An Obama-era deal that was made to make it easier for baseball players in Cuba to come to the U.S. to play, has been ended by U.S. President Donald Trump. The deal was made with MLB, the Cuban government, and the Cuban Baseball Federation to “prevent human trafficking, encourage cooperation, and elevate the level of baseball,” the Cuban Baseball Federation said on Twitter. “We stand by the goal of the agreement, which is to end the human trafficking of baseball players from Cuba,” an MLB statement said.

Under the current deal, the U.S. pays the Cuban Baseball Federation up to 25% of the signing bonus of every player that comes out of Cuba to play in the MLB. United States law prevents all payments to Cuba due to an embargo put on Cuba during the Cold War, but MLB claims that the Cuban Baseball Federation is not a park of the Cuban state therefore is not under the restrictions put in place by the American government.”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,” National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said.

The deal Obama was making took two years to complete and was finalized after Donald Trump took office. When  Donald Trump took office, one of his plans was undoing all of Obama’s efforts to make peace with Cuba. Just last week, the Cuban Federation sent its first group of players (34) that are able to sign contracts directly with MLB instead of having to either leave on rafts or defecting from Cuba. The Cuban federation also agreed to release all players 25 and older with at least six years of professional experience to be classified as international professionals under MLB’s labor contract with the players’ association and not subject to international amateur signing bonus pools.