Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Horrors of MLB and Cuba

Take a listen to this NPR story on MLB and Cuba, which anticipates an article in Sports Illustrated about the deep corruption involved in getting Cuban players to the United States. The basics have been well known for a long time. I wrote a post about it in 2014. The difference here is apparently that there are documents, which the FBI also has, that will implicate MLB teams specifically, and that could lead to legal action. That's all to the good.

The situation could hardly be worse. Repressive Marxism meets voracious capitalism, which then gets together with bad U.S. policy (the embargo is the center of the problem). Getting out of Cuba is difficult and by necessity includes corruption--especially in terms of granting large percentages of your future salary to buscones, whose sole goal in life is to suck you dry.

As the journalist notes in the interview, when you watch the playoffs now and see Cuban players, you have to realize they are in a different position from everyone else, not just in terms of background but also how much of their salary they actually will ever receive. But as always we need to remember the vast majority who will never make an MLB team, who will risk their lives, leave their families, get taken advantage of, and then wash out.

There should be a reckoning by MLB. The more concrete charges, the better, at least to clean up the process a bit since it is not likely the U.S. and Cuba will find a way to deal with this bilaterally. During the Obama administration, Raúl Castro suggested renting players to the U.S., which has its own problems. The point here is ideological. MLB embodies capitalism, and the Cuban government will not just let it in. Now, the Cuban government is not averse to reaping the benefits of capitalism, even at the expense of people, but the U.S. government won't allow that to happen.

In short, don't expect this to get a whole lot better too soon.


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