Changes in Cuba’s Migration Policy and Its Impact on Baseball
Keywords:Baseball, Communism, Cuban Revolution, Migration Policy, MLB
AbstractBaseball is an essential constituent of the Cuban national identity. For nearly a century, Cuban baseball players had joined high-ranking international leagues, including the Negro Leagues and Major League Baseball (MLB) of the United States. After the triumph of the Revolution in 1959, the professional practice of sport was banned in the country. On the other hand, the revolutionary government instituted migration rules that disallowed Cuban citizens to travel abroad freely. Until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Cuban national baseball team reigned in amateur competitions worldwide. Sporting successes in general and those of baseball in particular, were managed by the government as a political tool; the government used to display the loyalty of the athletes as a triumph of the Cuban system. However, since the nineties there has been a growing departure of Cuban top baseball players who have had the target of entering in MLB franchises, disregarding that the Cuban migration policy had remained unwavering. On the other hand, after the enactment of changes in the Cuban migration policy in 2013, the unconventional departure of high performance baseball players has increased sharply. The relationship between the migration reform and the increased leakage of baseball players has not been studied by scholars. The relevance of this paper is that it is the first academic approach to that relationship. This paper discusses the migration reform in Cuba and focuses mainly on its impact on baseball.
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